WKU hoping offense stays strong in Hillenbrand Invitational

Hasani Grayson

At the end of Tueday’s practice Head Coach Tyra Perry took some time to talk to about offense to the players in the middle of the line up.

The conversation with the players who she says she will expect the most RBI’s from this season, came on the heels of an impressive start for WKU’s offense.

WKU was able to score 27 runs in four games last weekend at the Palmetto Classic in Columbia, S.C., and Perry would like to keep that momentum going this weekend at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tuscon, Ariz.

“When we were ahead in the count they looked for their pitch and when we got behind they protected the plat well,” she said. 

Perry said she was happy with the way her batters had preformed but also stressed to her team that even after getting on the board early, hitters must adjust to any changes pitchers make after giving up runs their first time through the line up.

“The difference between an average hitter and really good hitter is that a really good hitter adjusts constantly,” said Perry.

One of the challenges that WKU batters dealt with during the last weekend of competition were the different pitching styles that varied from team to team. Junior catcher Karavin Dew said that pitch speed can be particularly hard to adjust for.

“I favor the faster pitching,” she said. “I struggle a little bit with the slow stuff but I find a way to get on and try to get our runs in.”

Dew said that the first game against Cleveland State featured a pitcher that threw the ball at a slower than average speed and that WKU saw pitchers that threw the ball with varying velocities and movement as the weekend went on. Dew batted .333 with one RBI over the weekend.

Because Perry was pleased overall with the offense approach she didn’t want too much to change with how her team played but did say that she wanted to do more hit and run this weekend.

“When you get the runner in motion with a batter at the plate that is being aggressive then it increases your chances of getting an RBI,” she said.

Even when WKU wasn’t able to get RBI’s in key situation players had to find a way to not carry over their disappointment. Sophomore infielder Amanda Thomas said she started off “a little shaky” at the plate.”

“But I had to focus on not bringing that to the field and towards the end of the series I got my bat working again,” she said.

Thomas went on to say that in order to get the plate appearances that she wanted she had to remind herself to “see the ball” and not be hard on herself since she was making contact but not the solid contact she was looking for. Thomas batted .250 with four RBI while going error-less in the field.

Perry encouraged her players to have relaxed plate approaches but said she doesn’t want her team to relax too much going into this weekend.

“There were situations where we could have adjust a bit sooner,” Perry said. “But its better late than never.”

Perry pointed out the their lone loss against South Carolina was a case where “We got a little bit passive after we scored those early runs.”

Perry said hopes the run scoring will continue against North Dakota, who has given up 12 runs in four games so far. North Dakota will be the first opponent of a weekend that will have WKU play five games in three days.