Softball team hosting first home games this weekend

Kyle Williams

After opening up the 2013 season splitting four games at the Bulldog Battle in Starkville, Miss., the Lady Toppers will come home to host the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic this weekend at Buchanon Park in Bowling Green.

WKU (2-2) aims to continue to play team ball and use its chemistry as an advantage. Senior pitcher Mallorie Sulaski said it’s important for the Lady Toppers to take what the game gives them and not worry about their losses.

“You can’t change what’s already happened,” Sulaski said. “So you just have to keep going strong regardless if you are ahead or not.”

Team focus is also vital this weekend as the Lady Toppers play five games in just three days. Junior outfielder Kelsie Mattox, who was named to the Bulldog Battle all-tournament team, said five games in three days will not be an issue.

“Most of our games are doubleheaders so it’s just putting them together,” Mattox said. “Early in the season five games in three days isn’t too bad because we’re still fresh and energized about the season.”

The Lady Toppers are set to face tough competition as they host South Dakota State, Valparaiso, Dayton, Western Michigan and Pittsburgh.

Valparaiso, one year removed from making a sizable run to the regionals of the women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, stands out in the series.

“All of them are going to be fairly tough,” coach Tyra Perry said of the games this weekend. “Valparaiso was in the regionals last year, so they will be tough.”

Pittsburgh catcher Holly Stevens is regarded as one of the better players in the Big East Conference, but Sulaski said the Lady Toppers aren’t treating anyone differently this year and the main focus is staying calm.

“We just have to stay mentally focused,” Sulaski said. “Take each game each pitch at a time and just refocus after each game. If we won or we lost, we have to get ready for the next game…our method this year is to treat no team differently. We want to play relaxed and focused.”

Although the Lady Toppers won’t be playing at their usual WKU Softball Complex, the players are still happy to be in Bowling Green and to see loved ones cheering them on.

“It’s exciting to have our fans out there and to just be at home,” Sulaski said. “And to be able to play in front of our friends and family.”

WKU will begin play on Friday against SDSU at 10:30 a.m. and Valparaiso at 3:30 p.m. The Lady Toppers will continue play on Saturday against Dayton at 1:00 p.m. and Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m., and conclude play Sunday with Pittsburgh at 1:00 p.m.