TUSCALOOSA , Ala.– Lessons learned are most often the result of hardships.
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons closed out the Easton Bama Bash softball tournament with a 6-1 loss to tournament host Alabama Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman is hopeful her team has learned lessons that will pay dividends when the Atlantic Sun portion of the season begins.
“The biggest things we are seeing as coaches are that things are just not clicking at the same time,” Ryman said. “When the pitching is doing well we can’t seem to get anything going offensively. And when the offense is doing well maybe our defense falls apart.
“We have to get better at being able to excel in every part of the game and not just one per game. Even when we are playing some of the best teams in the country we can still fight. We have to have a confidence about how we are playing.”
Alabama struck first with a run in the top of the third on a lead-off home run.
The Purple and Gold tied the game in the bottom of the third. Brittany Elmore walked with two outs. She stole second. Paige Neely singled through the right side to score Elmore.
Alabama added two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings and closed out the game with a run in the seventh.
Neely and Baylee Williams each had a single for the Lady Bisons.
Tanner Sanders started for Lipscomb in the circle. She pitched 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and three runs, all earned. She walked four and struck out three.
Kelly Young pitched the final 3.2 innings. She gave up four hits and three runs, all earned, She walked four and did not strike out a batter.
The Lady Bisons are 5-9. Alabama, ranked No. 3 in the country, is 13-3.
In addition to Alabama, the Lady Bisons played No. 5-rated Michigan twice and also faced James Madison in two games, a team that has received votes in the top 25.
Ryman has stressed to her players that they can’t use the rankings of a team as an excuse for not winning.
“Part of it is growing and learning together,” Ryman said. “What is each player’s dynamic on this team? What is their role? For returning players their role on this team may not be the same as their role on the team last year or the year before.
“Learning those things and being able to fight back when challenged are a big part of it. One of the things we have seen time and time again is the best teams give up a run or two in an inning, but they come right back in the next inning or they are giving themselves opportunities. The fight is still there.”
Ryman and her coaching staff opened this season with strong expectations. They have no doubts this is a team that will succeed.
“We look at this team and see amazing talent and potential,” Ryman said. “We are asking a lot of them as coaches right now. We have to go out and earn our wings.
“We have to find a way to win more games. We are being challenged early. The season is still young.”
- Left fielder Brianne Welch was named to the all-tournament team. She batted a team-leading .333 in the tournament. She also led the team with a .400 on-base percentage.
- Baylee Williams and Gracey Aguirre also had three hits.
- Becca Dean made her first start as the designated player this season.
- Elmore stole her ninth base of the season. She has not been thrown out stealing this season.
The Lady Bisons will play Belmont Feb. 25 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium at 2 p.m.