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Lady Bisons return to the diamond for the Blues City Classic
Thursday, February 20, 2014
By Mark McGee
Lady Bisons return to the diamond for the Blues City Classic

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – Last week the Lipscomb Lady Bisons did some big team hunting  on the softball diamond and nailed a No. 14-ranked team as well as an NCAA 2013 Super Regional team.

But those wins over Baylor and UAB, respectively, along with Iowa and Drake are history. This week there is a new tournament challenge as the Lady Bisons head west for the Blues City Classic hosted by the University of Memphis in Southaven, Miss.

The Lady Bisons open the tournament Friday with a pair of games. They face Appalachian State, 1-6, at 2:30 p.m. followed by Evansville, 2-2, at 5p.m.

Saturday they face Southeast Missouri State at 12:30 p.m.

They close out the tournament Sunday with Missouri State at 10 a.m. and Murray State at 12 p.m.

“This tournament doesn’t necessarily have the big name, higher RPI teams we saw last weekend,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “But they are all competitive softball teams.

“It is great to have done what we have done, but we have to remember that now we have a target on our back. We are not going to jump in and surprise people as much anymore.  Everybody is going to be gunning for us just like we were gunning for Baylor, UAB, Missouri and Iowa last weekend and in the first week of the season against Virginia Tech.”

The Lady Bisons are 8-1, their best start since 2010. Ryman wants the team to remember there is still a lot to prove despite the strong start. 

Third baseman Paige Neely is batting .500 and has two home runs and 10 runs batted in.

Sophomore right-hander Tanner Sanders is 5-0 with three complete games and a 1.48 earned run average.

“Those other teams are going to be playing up against us,” Ryman said. “We don’t want our team playing down or playing lackadaisical. We don’t want them overlooking anybody.

“We have to be sure that we approach every single game like we did against Baylor. We specifically addressed it Wednesday. We still are focused on the details of what we need to do to take our game to the next level. We want to make sure that we are keeping our energy and intensity up in practice.”

One of the themes for the Purple and Gold this season is not being concerned about the name on the front of a uniform.

“We have to find a way to control what we can control,” Ryman said. “We still have to play with a chip on our shoulder. Teams are going to come out wanting to play their best against us. That is more mental than physical.

“We have things to prove to the teams this weekend, the Atlantic Sun and on the national stage. If we continue to take that approach with a chip on our shoulders we are going to continue to do good things.”