LipscombSports.com
Softball looks to end skid in the Frost Classic in Chattanooga
Missouri State (4-7)
at
Lipscomb (4-5)
2/22/2013 | Chattanooga, Tenn. | Attendance: 75
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Missouri State0000020231
Lipscomb001030X481
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: PARKER (2-2) 7.032139
Loss: Van Es (0-5) 6.084404
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Pierce (MSU) 301200
Boeckstiegel (MSU) 101000
Cunningham (MSU) 301000
ELMORE (LIP) 323000

Thursday, February 21, 2013
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb Lady Bisons have pushed the reset button at the plate this week as they prepare for the Frost Classic.

“We will be trying to get back on track with our hitting,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We have spent a lot of time the last two days really just focusing on some of the simple things like seeing the ball and not trying to get too big with what we are doing. If we don’t see the ball it is going to be hard to make adjustments during an at bat or throughout a game.

“We want them to feel comfortable and confident again at the plate. We want them to trust themselves, but we also want to make sure they are not so focused on their mechanics that they are not seeing the ball.”

Friday the Lady Bisons open against Missouri State at 12:15 p.m. They close out the day against Chattanooga at 4:45 p.m. The Frost Classic is hosted by Tennessee-Chattanooga.

The Lady Bisons opened the season with three straight wins, but have lost the last five games.

Hitting was expected to be a strength but heading into their third tournament of the season.  The Lady Bisons have only two players batting above .300 - catcher Mickey Bell with a .316 average and designated player Haley Elliott at .313.

Despite the lack of offensive success a theme for the team this week has been to make sure everyone realizes it is too early to panic.

“We don’t want them to feel like anyone is in a slump right now,” Ryman said. “Softball is just like baseball in terms of hitting. You are going to fail more often than you are going to be successful.

“That’s a hard thing to grasp, especially for our young players.  They are all used to being successful because they had so much success in travel ball and in high school.”

Ryman is stressing the need for patience at the plate combined with a short memory when an at bat doesn’t go as expected.

“They have to focus on the process and not get so wrapped up in the outcome that they take themselves out of it for the next game, the next at bat or the next week of games,” Ryman said.  “We have to have good heads on our shoulders.

"We have to be able to adjust and stay composed and work from one at bat to another."

Ryman realizes that all players want to have great starts, but she also tells her players that what matters the most is how they perform in the Atlantic Sun Conference this season.

“We can’t get caught up in stats,” Ryman said. “We have to focus on getting better with every at bat.

“The last couple of days in practice we have been focusing on controlling what we can control. We have to stay focused when we are tired or when we are frustrated.”

Tuesday the Lady Bisons worked on bunts, hit-and-run and slap situations. Wednesday the emphasis was on seeing the ball. Thursday, before leaving for Chattanooga, they worked in the batting cage in McQuiddy Gym.

“At this point it is about finding a happy medium,” Ryman said. “We can’t ignore the problems we do have. And we can’t be beating them down.”

The Frost Classic features 12 teams. The Lady Bisons play Ohio at 10 a.m. Saturday and face Niagara at 2:30 p.m. They are scheduled to play Miami-Ohio at 9 a.m. Sunday.

“We need to come out with a lot of intensity,” Ryman said. “We need to come out with a cutthroat mentality that we are going to score first and have a good defensive first inning to set the tone.

“We have to be tough enough to be able to handle whatever does happen in that first inning. We have to roll with it. We have shown we can fight from behind, and we have also been able to get early leads. We can’t be passive.”

It is the prelude for the busiest week for the Lady Bisons so far this season. Tuesday they travel to Knoxville to face Tennessee at 4 p.m. Wednesday at 2 p.m., they play the first home game of the season when Wright State visits Draper Diamond.

The Purple and Gold Challenge is scheduled for March 1-3 at Draper Diamond with Tennessee Tech, Texas-El Paso and IPFW joining the Lady Bisons.

“I think this weekend is going to be real important for us,” Ryman said. “We have to play our game and let the results take care of themselves.

“If we can do that this weekend I think it will propel us into a good week next week. That is ideally what we are looking for.”