April 10, 2008
When it comes to preparing her Lady Bisons for going to the Atlantic Sun tournament head coach Kristin Peck isn't giving her team the easy way out.
The Lipscomb softball team (20-21 overall, 9-5 A-Sun) has spent all but nine games this season on the road, making trips to powerhouse teams such as Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee Tech, and nationally ranked teams Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
"I think it's given us a lot more confidence going into conference play, said head coach Kristin Peck. "Our players realize that if we can play well against some of those teams that they can play well against the top teams in our conference."
All the hard work has paid off. The Lady Bisons have won seven of their last nine contests including five straight.
On Tuesday night, the Lady Bisons earned a series sweep on the road over defending OVC champion Tennessee Tech.
"It feels really good to walk away with two good wins on the road against a good team and know that we did a lot of little things well in those two games," said Peck.
Peck has been preaching on the little things the entire season.
"I feel like the youth factor on our team demands that we focus on the little things," said Peck. "We have a lot of talent. When our players are willing to buy into the philosophy of taking care of the little things, that makes a big difference when the game is on the line. The more and more our players see that, the better we are going to be."
On Friday they hit the road again for a pair of A-Sun doubleheaders.
The first doubleheader is against Kennesaw State who won the regular season championship last year. Kennesaw's top pitcher is left-hander Brittney Matthews who leads the conference in strikeouts.
"Matthews gives us a different look because she is a lefty," said Peck. "A lot of facing her is a mental thing. They rely a lot on their pitching. If we go in and attack the ball we will do well against them."
That doubleheader is set to kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday.
The Lady Bisons next travel to Macon, Georgia for a 12 p.m. doubleheader against Mercer on Saturday. Mercer is two-and-a-half games behind Lipscomb in the conference standings and lead at the plate by first baseman Jamie Madruga, also a left-hander with a .442 batting average, and 35 RBI's.
The Lady Bisons have seen improvement from a few key players. Over the last six games sophomore centerfielder and leadoff batter Lauren Dortwegt has hit .400 at the plate and sophomore infielder Kellie Sirus has hit .421. Sirus is third in the conference in with a .384 batting average.
Sophomore shortstop Abby Keese provides a lot of consistency to the order with a .357 batting average and twelve home runs.
"We've mixed some things up in the lineup lately and given some players some opportunities," said Peck. "A lot of them are taking those opportunities. Lauren is getting on base for us more which is huge in the top of our order and Abby's consistency is really starting to pay off in the middle part of our order. Kellie has also caught fire lately and has been clutch with runners on base.
"Our pitchers have started to step up for us. Kim has been a really big difference maker lately."
Peck wants her team to refocus going into this weekend. "I think going to Tennessee Tech and picking up two wins on the road is good start to building momentum to close out conference play," said Peck. "We are going into a big weekend and the players know that. They want a championship and they are going to do whatever it takes."