Softball

Loyola Softball Dominates Easy First Two Tournaments

Abby Schnable | The PhoenixThe Loyola softball team stands in a huddle after earning a run.

Another weekend meant another sweep for the Loyola softball team.

The team went 5-0 in its first tournament of the season, the Total Control Sports Invitational, and would improve to 9-0 by the end of its second.

The Ramblers continued their hot streak in the Runnin’ Bulldog Softball Tournament, where they allowed just two runs and scored 39.

So far, the Ramblers have continued this same formula of a timely and high-scoring offense with lockdown pitching. But this might not be surprising when considering the teams they’ve faced.

“I do feel like we are all on the same page and we are all focused on winning and doing what we need to do to win.”

Katie Kasubke, senior catcher

Loyola leads the country in team ERA with 0.46, but the caliber of teams the Ramblers have played are not nearly as competitive as others on the leaderboard.

Based on a statistical analysis known as Rating Percentage Index (RPI), a metric which balances win probability with opponents and strength of schedule, the teams the Ramblers have played aren’t stellar. When analyzing their 2018 numbers, Loyola has played teams ranked at the highest 181st and the lowest 289th in the country.

In comparison, the Ramblers rank 159th in the RPI and won’t face a team with a higher rating until they face Indiana University Feb. 22. The Hoosiers’ adjusted RPI ranking for 2018 was 119th, marking the first time Loyola will play a team who mathematically had more success against a tougher schedule.

The largest test of the season will come against Drake University, which ranked 31st in the country based on the statistical analysis.

Abby Schnable | The Phoenix Junior outfielder Shannon McGee steals a base.

As a player, senior catcher Katie Kasubke has been at Loyola to experience the ebbs and flows of success on a team. She saw Loyola start like this in 2017 when the team started 14-0, but ended the year 27-26. She said with a long season, it’s impossible to be perfect, but the team can continue succeeding by focusing on its areas of improvement and staying in their routine.

“We are really focusing on getting to the conference tournament and competing in anything we do,” Kasubke said. “We have different goals in that we are not just looking to be there, we are looking to compete and win and we know that we can. That’s our main goal as a team is to prove to everyone that we can compete in the Missouri Valley [Conference].”

Conference play doesn’t start until March 16, meaning the softball team won’t yet have to prove to fans it’s a legitimate team in the Missouri Valley Conference. Until then, the Ramblers will continue to play in invitational tournaments to prove their strengths against non-conference opponents. As the season progresses, Loyola will continue to try and demonstrate its dedication to team success.

“We have different goals in that we are not just looking to be there, we are looking to compete and win and we know that we can.”

Katie Kasubke, senior catcher

“We just put in a lot of work, especially with a lot of new people, it is good to get out there and prove all our hard work is paying off,” Kasubke said. “I do feel like we are all on the same page and we are all focused on winning and doing what we need to do to win. But, it’s a long season, you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low.”

Loyola’s is slated for another tournament starting Feb. 22 against the Hoosiers in Macon, Georgia.

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