By Samantha Gillis
Staff reporter

Desiree’ Shipp, freshman infielder, was a bit nervous for her first conference softball game against McPherson College on Saturday at McPherson. But then she thought, “This is what we have been working for all off season.”

The Lady Builders have been training for months for a season that lasts two and half months. Now is the time for all their early morning circuit training, grueling swimming practices, and hours in the batting cages to pay off. The Builders continue to improve each game according to Amber Good, head women’s softball coach, and winning six of the last nine games.

The Builders went 1-1 against McPherson. They dominated the Bulldogs in the first game 11-1. Good said, “We came out aggressive at the plate in the first game and were able to put up several runs.” Rachel Ratcliffe, junior pitcher, pitched the first game and held her opponents to zero bats on ball and only one run. Shipp said, “Rachel pitched a great game.”

Offensively the Builders were strong as well. Brady Luedtke, freshman infielder, went 2-3 at the plate and scored three times. Chelsea Fort, junior infielder, went 1-3 at the plate and advanced three runners to home. Kaylee Hicks, junior infielder, also went 1-3 and scored twice. Bailey LeGrand, sophomore outfielder, hit a homerun and raked in three RBI’s.

In the second game the Builders couldn’t hit the gaps while batting, and lost 2-6.

Shipp had a strong second game offensively. She went 2-3 at the plate with one RBI and one double. Devan Howard, freshman infielder, also went 2-3 in the second game scoring once.

Ratcliffe was named the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference pitcher of the week with 46 strike outs and only allowing 60 hits out of 245 at bats. When Ratcliffe heard the news about her nomination, she said she reacted by doing a little victory dance and yelling, “Like a Boss.”

But Ratcliffe knows there is a lot of work ahead and now more than ever it is crunch time. Ratcliffe said, “I’m going to try to improve in any way, shape or form even if it means trying to perfect each pitch. And I’m going to try to relax more and not force each pitch.”

But relaxing is something she thinks she has done better this year. She said her improvements from last year have come from dedicating more time to softball and
relaxing on the mound a little more.

The Lady Builders won their double headers 7-2 and 10-0, against Oklahoma Wesleyan University last Wednesday at home. Good said she was pleased with the team’s performance. “We lost two games to them the week before both by a score of 1-2. We knew we were the better team and it was nice to see the team go out and play like they are capable. OWU is a good program they have won some big games this season,” Good said. Again the pitching staff pulled through for the team said Good. “Everyone stepped up and performed well at the plate,” she said.

The Builders played Friends University yesterday in Wichita. Friends was ranked fourth before the double-header in the KCAC and was 2-2 in conference play.

Before the game, Good said the team will prepare for their games against their rivals just like any other game.

Ratcliffe is on the same page, she said her mindset for the double header will be, “To get a win and do the best I can because that is all I can do.”

Samantha Gillis is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at samantha.gillis@sckans.edu.