March 10, 201712345678RHE
Western Illinois01000002363
Win: Payton Abbott (2-2) 8.031037
Loss: THOMAS (5-4) 8.063236
Rachel Beatty (WIU) 401000
Nina Maggio (WIU) 411100
Hailey Duwa (WIU) 401100
Payton Abbott (WIU) 301000
Aly Compton (WIU) 311000
Jasmine Lara (WIU) 311100
GIBSON (LIP) 402000
Memphis softball tournament offers new challenges
Thursday, March 9, 2017
By Mark McGee
Memphis softball tournament offers new challenges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis Tournament is more like a series of blind dates for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team than a tournament.

Friday morning at 9 a.m. the Lady Bisons, on a seven-game winning streak, will get the wakeup call against Western Illinois, 6-11. It is the first time the two teams have met in softball.

That is a theme for the weekend for the Lady Bisons. Friday afternoon Lipscomb will face Indiana at 1:30, another first time meeting. Indiana is 6-13 and has lost its last five games.

“We are going to be facing a big variety of teams,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We are going to have to go in and be sharp regardless of who we are playing.

“We have to show up and be us regardless of who is on the other side and the teams that can do that usually go on to have great seasons.”

The Fighting Leathernecks of Western Illinois are from The Summit League. Holly Hoeling leads the team with a .348 batting average with three home runs and 13 runs batted in. Seven members of the team are batting over .300.

“Western Illinois is keeping games pretty close,” Ryman said. “I am interested to see how they look on the field.”

Saturday, weather permitting, the Lady Bisons will face host Memphis, 9-7, at 3:45 followed by Buffalo, 2-13, at 6 p.m. This will be first time Lipscomb has played Buffalo. The Lady Bisons are 3-5 against Memphis overall.

They close the tournament Sunday at the Memphis Softball Complex with a 9 a.m. meeting with Oakland, 6-3. Lipscomb is 3-0 in the series with Oakland.

Ryman likes what she is seeing from her team, especially in the way the players fight to come back from slow starts or early struggles at the plate.

“If a pitcher has our number early in the game it’s about can we be better in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings,” Ryman said. “We talk about trying to make every at bat better. Obviously, we want to have a great start, but we definitely want a strong finish.”

Fuller house outfield: There are three outfield positions, but Ryman has four players who can start there. Destinee Brewer, Kasey Gibson, Khayla Green and Abby White have all distinguished themselves in different ways and that is the challenge for Ryman.

White entered the Campbell game Wednesday as a pinch-hitter and connected for a two-RBI double.

“Abby is a perfect example,” Ryman said. “She could be starting for us, and she has started for us this season.

“Abby is ready to do what we need her to do. If we need or to start, or if we need her off the bench, she is ready. That’s says a lot about her.”

White is batting .346 with a home run, a double and five RBI. Gibson is hitting .375 with three triples, two doubles and 14 RBI. Brewer is hitting .296 with three stolen bases. Green is hitting .212 but has walked nine times. She has one triple and one double and four RBI.

“Right now, we have four really solid outfielders who are all doing good things at the plate,” Ryman said. “We have two challenges as a coaching staff as to how we start the game, and how do we use the one who isn’t starting, in the best possible way.”

“They are all different types of players. Some are better defenders. Some are better at the plate. Some have more speed. Some have power.”

Going with the Plo: Lipscomb first baseman Caitlin Plocheck leads the team in several categories including a .400 batting average, five home runs, eight doubles, 15 RBI and 51 total bases. She has hit three home runs in her last four games. She has 10 hits combined in her last seven games.

Peyton’s base: Peyton Ward has a team-leading 11 stolen bases, fifth in the ASUN Conference.