Struggling softball team takes it one game at a time

Loyola’s women’s softball team has stuggled early, but there’s still time to turn the season around and repeat last year’s success with a trip to the MVC championship. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann

With the end of the season just a few weeks away, Loyola’s women’s softball team still has some obstacles to overcome.

This season has been a product of trials and tribulations for the Ramblers, who have a 12-22 overall record and a 2-9 record in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).

But there have been some shining diamonds in this rough season, and Head Coach Jeff Tylka said the team is still going to fight hard for the rest of the year.

“We’ve struggled a little bit. We’ve lost eight or nine one-run games,” said Tylka. “We have three or four girls dealing with injuries.”

With a decent part of the team out injured, many players have shifted to new and unfamiliar positions. Although the transition has been tough, it has also brought the team closer together.

“I’ve been very impressed with their ability to do anything to help the team or anything that we ask them to do,” Tylka said.

Junior Brie Pasquale said the team has stepped up as a whole despite the challenge of having so many players injured.

“We’ve really pulled it together and we’re working as a team collectively,” said Pasquale. “We have each other’s back. We just keep trucking forward.”

The Ramblers have faced some of the best teams in the nation and the MVC this season, including the University of Arizona, a top-10 ranked team. But Tylka said these matchups haven’t overwhelmed the players.

“Our girls have really done a good job of not letting what should be a mismatch on paper affect how we play and how we fight,” Tylka said. “Regardless of who we are playing, they’ve done a good job of taking it one game at a time and trying to do their best at that moment.”

With the end of the season less than a month away, the Ramblers are focusing on their mental toughness to finish on a strong note. Pasquale said staying calm and relaxed throughout all nine innings is crucial to their success.

“Near the end of the season, everything kind of moves a little faster, so making sure we’re all on the same page as a team is one of the biggest things,” Pasquale said.

Last year the Ramblers made it all the way to the MVC finals, and they’d like to do it again this year.

“Their effort is there day in and day out,” Tylka said. “Now we have to kind of work a little bit more on execution so we can put together a complete game.”

Coming off last year’s success, Pasquale has confidence they can reach the goals they’re aiming for.

“We have kind of a chip on our shoulders coming off last year, but we hope to get back to that same spot and go even further,” Pasquale said. “Our team this year, I believe, has the capability of doing that. We always say ‘make our memory,’ so that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The team looks onward to the last few weeks of the 2015 season to make its mark, one game at a time. The Ramblers host Indiana State University in a two-game series at Loyola Softball Park on April 15 before playing at DePaul on April 1.

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