NW softball starts slow
While the biggest question mark coming into the season for the Shawnee Mission Northwest softball team has actually been keeping the Cougars in games, it’s what was supposed to be the solid side of the lineup that has actually caused SMNW coach Mark Balderston the most headaches.
The Cougars dropped a pair of games, 1-0 and 4-0, to Olathe South on Thursday to fall to 0-5 on the young season as the Cougars have struck out against three Olathe opponents – Olathe East, Olathe Northwest and Olathe South.
Going into the 2010 campaign, it was supposed to be the pitching of young hurlers Sarah Male, a sophomore, and Katt Cooper, a freshman, that was to be the unknown issue for Northwest while its hitting and base-running was the known commodity. So far this year, though, it’s been the pitching that has kept the Cougars in games, while the hits and runs have been hard to come by.
“Right now, our hitting has not been very good — from top to bottom,” Balderston said. “We’re hitting .153 as a team and the lowest total I’ve ever had since I’ve been coaching at Northwest was a team .321 (batting average).
“I think it’s a combination of two things — we’re very young, and the pitching we’ve faced from those three Olathe schools has been outstanding.”
For now, Balderston is focusing on keeping his pitchers consistent and making sure his batters remain patient.
“They’re getting better,” Balderston said of Male and Cooper. “They’re getting some experience, and that’s the only thing they were lacking coming into the season. They’re still young, but they’re learning what it takes to get ahead of batters, to not throw the ball down the middle.
“When you’re not hitting well you get frustrated and start swinging at bad pitches. Right now the goal with these young girls is ‘Are you getting better?’ And I think we are. Against Olathe South we were very competitive.”
The Cougars will play host to Shawnee Mission West on Thursday at the Shawnee Mission District Softball Complex.
SMNW played Olathe North in a doubleheader on Tuesday. Results from those games were unavailable at press time.