NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Fall softball is a dress rehearsal for the spring and Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman likes what she is seeing from some of the newest members of her cast.
Saturday afternoon at Draper Diamond the Lady Bisons beat Belmont 5-2 in an eight-inning game and 4-0 in a seven-inning nightcap. The scores meant little, but Ryman was impressed with the performances of a trio of freshmen - Brittany Elmore, Mickey Bell and Tanner Sanders.
Elmore played all three outfield positions and also spent some time at second base. But where she really got noticed was at the plate where she was the lead-off batter in both games.
“Brittany is going to be a table setter for us,” Ryman said. “She uses all her tools well. She can bunt, slap or hit away. She found a lot of ways to get on base and really sparked us. She made things happen that eventually led to runs.
“She has great speed. She is the typical type to be a lead-off hitter.”
Bell caught 13 innings and has been the workhorse behind the plate this fall as Haley Elliott continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
“Mickey did a really nice job behind the plate,” Ryman said. “She blocked several balls and threw at least one girl out. She handled it well.”
Sanders, a freshman pitcher, threw six shutout innings against Belmont.
“We have to keep working with her to be smart with her pitches as the game goes on,” Ryman said. “She is working extremely hard. She is very, very coachable. She is taking it all in.”
Junior college transfer pitcher Heather Parker threw three innings.
“Heather is a very competent pitcher,” Ryman said. “She will throw more as the fall goes on.
“We are trying to work with her to stay consistent with her pitches. We want her to get the movement that she needs out of her pitches. She has taken some big strides for us.”
Ashley Anderson threw the final two innings of game one and the first four innings of game two. Both pitching coach Paige Cassady and Ryman wanted to see Anderson take a more aggressive approach on the mound.
“We don’t want Ashley to be timid or nervous,” Ryman said. “She came out and threw very aggressively.
“We need all three of our pitchers to be able to contribute and contribute a lot. We like where they are at and the direction they are going. We just have to keep moving forward.”
Ryman wants to see her Lady Bisons be more aggressive at the plate. They appear to be listening to what she is saying.
“I thought on the whole we put the ball in play well,” Ryman said. “We didn’t have many strikeouts which was good to see.
“We have talked a lot about attacking the ball. We want them to do their thinking in the batting cage and let their instincts take over on the field. We did a good job of adjusting to different situations.
“There are a lot of things we definitely need to work on. But, overall, we had a pretty good day.”
The Lady Bisons head across town to Tennessee State for a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11. They are back at Draper Diamond Oct. 13 when Middle Tennessee visits for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m..
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.