SOFTBALL: Silver’s pitching leaves batters questioning her next move

Wes Watt

Six of the 14 Lady Toppers opponents have taken a test this season. The test consists of questions asked by senior pitcher Allison Silver. The question is, where will she throw the ball?

Very few batters have been able to find an answer.

Silver has made batters ask more questions than detectives at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

Western (11-3) will start the five-game Hilltopper Spring Fling tournament at 4 p.m. Friday against Morehead State. And Silver will be looking to ask some more questions.

“She’s keeping the opponent off balance,” coach Leslie Phelan said. “And that’s important.”

Silver brings into this weekend’s contest a 5-1 record, allowing three or less hits in three of her six games.

This pinpoint accuracy has helped the Lady Topper’s defense hold opponents to one or fewer runs in 10 of their 14 games.

Despite pitching consistently, Silver isn’t satisfied yet.

“I like where I’m at now,” Silver said. “But I can still improve.”

Silver said the importance of staying hungry and the drive to get better will pay off in the end.

Fifth-year senior outfielder Jessie Richardson said the defense as a whole feels more relaxed when the offense is hitting well, but she understands how important consistency in an offense is to a pitcher.

“It’s got to be a relief,” Richardson said. “Your team’s hitting and can back up what your doing on the mound.”

The Lady Topper offense has had some trouble staying consistent over the long haul of the season, but may have found the consistency it was looking for.

The offense had a strong showing in the championship game of the Hilltopper Spring Classic last weekend, busting out nine hits against an Illinois State pitcher that shut them down the night before.

With bats making that much contact and Silver’s pitching, Western avenged the 5-0 shutout against the Redbirds. Silver gave up four hits in the game.

Having such great pitching, along with a strong defense, has taken the pressure off of the inconsistent offense, which needed some time to find its niche.

Richardson said although the offense has had its problems, the game last Sunday gave her a lot of confidence that the offense can come up with some hits.

Richardson’s offensive performance this season earned her Sun Belt Conference hitter of the week on Feb. 24. But Richardson said it’s not just her making contact with the ball, it’s her teammates as well.

“I’ve never been more confident that if I don’t perform, someone else will,” Richardson said. “I’m confident if I have a bad game that there will be two other people that have great games.”

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