Softball Season Slipping Away

Emory women’s softball traveled to Cleveland to play four games against the Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Spartans and ended the weekend 2-2. They lost March 24 in a close game, which ended in a score of 9-8 but returned strong in the second game for a 7-0 win. The Eagles prevailed once again March 25, exploding for 15 runs in the day’s first game, while limiting the Spartans to only three. The series concluded with a Case Western rally to defeat Emory 5-4.

The team continued to reach a season total of seventeen wins and nine losses. Now just a few games past the halfway point in their regular season, the Eagles have already lost five more games than the entirety of their 2016 campaign.

Results have not lived up to expectations, but among the struggles thus far, a number of bright spots for this Eagle team lies ahead.

“We’ve seen lots of development in areas we didn’t have at the start,” junior first and third baseman Ashley Powers said. “Our hitting has really come through and our pitching has been great.”

Expectations were as high as ever coming into the season, but with a 17-9 record, the Eagles must adjust as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.

According to Powers, the team has struggled to execute properly.

“The struggle has really been focused on getting to combine all of these things to be turned on every single game,” Powers said.

With experience in the Division III Softball Championship last season, captain and senior second baseman Amy Wray has seen a lot in her time at Emory. But now, with only a few months left of play this season, the clock is ticking for Wray and her team if they wish to turn things around.

One of her favorite Emory moments — playing in the World Series —  is an experience Wray and her teammates would like to repeat this year.

The team still clings to World Series dreams, but given the struggle to secure consistent victories, adjustments were necessary.

“Our goals have changed,” Wray said. “Based [on] our successful season last year, we had our sights set on winning a national championship. We need to take each game and each play as it is, find success in the little things and [build] up towards the larger goals.”

The talent is there — the Eagles’ returned with a number of key performers from last year’s World Series run. Now it’s up to the players to put the pieces together to reach that winning formula.

“This is the best season I’ve seen [Wray] have,” Powers said. “She’s been hitting very well, as has [captain senior outfielder] Taylor [Forte], with a hitting power I’ve never seen from her before.”

Wray remained optimistic when talking about the series with Case Western, focusing on what the team did well instead of dwelling on the losses.

“For the games that we won, we were able to string a ton of hits together and rally as a team,” Wray said. “And we were able to execute defensively.”

Wray has taken on a new outlook on the team’s play as she sees the end of her final season near.

“We’re living in the moment and taking each challenge as it comes,” Wray said. “Post-season is still where we want to be, but for right now we’re enjoying the present, taking each challenge as it comes and seeing where that leads us.”

The Eagles have four more games for the month of March, facing off against DePauw University (Ind.) March 30 at Emory at 2 and 4 p.m. On March 31, the Eagles will play Washington University in St. Louis at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.

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