FORT MYERS, Fla. – In her final postgame talk of the season Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman told her players not to focus on the outcome of the final game.
The Lady Bisons, seeded No. 5, closed out the season Thursday afternoon with a 5-0 loss to Stetson, the No. 3 seed. The loss was the second for the Lady Bisons in the Atlantic Sun Tournament at the FGCU Softball Complex.
“It was a frustrating game,” Ryman said. “We were having struggles offensively again, and defensively a lot of the balls Stetson put in play just seemed to find the holes.
“We have to find ways to string things together. We hit some balls on the nose, but it just wasn’t happening for us.”
Lipscomb ends the season 26-29. Stetson is 30-23.
A season is often a matter of timing and the Lady Bisons could not get their bearings at the plate late in the season,
“I think we hit a rough patch at the wrong time,” Ryman said. “Obviously, you want to be playing your best softball this time of the year.
“In the Kennesaw series (last regular season series) we struggled at the plate. We have an extremely talented team, but offensively it was not clicking for us down the stretch.”
Stetson struck for two runs in the second inning, two in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Kelly Young, 13-12, started for Lipscomb in the circle. In 4.1 innings she gave up six hits and five runs, all earned. She walked three, hit two batters and struck out two.
“I think Kelly threw really well at times today,” Ryman said. “A lot of the hits she gave up weren’t shots, they were bloop singles and grounds singles to the infield.
Tanner Sanders finished the game throwing 1.2 innings. She allowed two hits and no runs. She did not walk or strike out a batter.
The Lady Bisons managed only three hits. Brittany Elmore opened the game with a single. Destinee Brewer and Dee Baddley each added singles as well.
Tori Perkins went the distance for Stetson. She struck out two and did not walk a batter.
“You have to credit Perkins,” Ryman said. “I thought she did a nice job of keeping the ball down and working the corners. She didn’t miss much over the plate. She did a nice job.”
Ryman stressed how much the seniors – Baddley, Elmore, Young, Sanders and Baylee Williams – have meant to the program.
“There were a lot of tears,” Ryman said. “These seniors have meant a lot to this program both on and off of the field.
“They are a special group. We want to make sure they understand how proud we are of them. There have been moments of greatness in their careers and there have been moments of struggles. But I think all of that will help them to have very bright futures in what they are moving on to next.”
Much has been said about the family atmosphere on the team this season. Again, Ryman credits the seniors for setting that tone.
“They have taken the family atmosphere to another level,” Ryman said. “This team was extremely close this year.
“We had no internal problems. That is a coach’s dream. And that started with the atmosphere the seniors set. The younger players want to do things the right way. They want to continue the family atmosphere we had this season.”
- Catcher Abby Fenichel threw out two runners giving her 20 for the season. She entered the tournament as the A-Sun leader in runners caught stealing overall.
- This was the third time Lipscomb had met Stetson in a tournament elimination game. Each time Stetson has prevailed.