Kansas softball coach Austin Graham believes this season his team will be better at the plate.
In the final pre-season scrimmage and in the season opener, the team made contact to come away with lopsided victories.
“I think we have hit the ball really so far,” said Graham. “I think we are going to hit the ball better this year than in the past.”
Sophomore Kelsey Guthrie, who was perfect at the plate in the 15-2 season opening win over Salina on Monday, August 7, led Kansas. Guthrie was 4-4 in the hitting department with three doubles and a single.
Salina took the early lead when the Lady Wildcats Addy Beck hit a home run over the center field fence in the top of the first inning.
Kansas tied the game in the bottom of the first after Ashton Bird single, moved to third on Guthrie’s first double and scored on a sacrifice single from Kaylee Armbrister.
Guthrie added her second double in the second to and was joined in the hit department Bert Brewer, Lainie Payton and Armbrister to drive in five runs and put the Lady Comets up for good.
Kansas added eight runs in the fourth inning to claim the run rule win. It was powered by hits from Maggie Barnard, Ashlyn Bird, Ashton Bird, Tyra Verette, Guthrie, Payton and Armbrister.
Ashton Bird was 3-3 at the plate with Armbrister, Brewer, Payton and Gregory all having two hits in the game. Armbrister and Payton had three RBI’s in the game while Guthrie and Ashton Bird scored three runs for the Lady Comets.
Kansas finished with 17 hits in the game to earn the victory with neither team committing an error.
“Salina’s pitcher did a decent job trying to keep us off balance and I think we adjusted well to hit the ball and score when we need to,” said Graham.
Ashlyn Bird started the season off with the win on the mound. The junior gave up five hits; one walk and five strike outs in the game.
“We played good defense and we are going to have to this season. We are going to have to outscore everybody this year. So we are going to have to continue to play that way this year,” said Graham. “Bert Brewer made an outstanding play out in left field and we need to keep making plays like that to have a successful season.”
Saturday Kansas finished their pre-season with a 15-3 win over Ketchum at home.
Up 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth Kansas unleashed a barrage of hits to score six runs and take an 11-3 score.
Kansas moved the score to 13-3 when Destiny Wolf hit a double to and scored off an Ashlyn Bird hit. Armbrister added the second score of the frame when she came home when Ashton Bird was hit by a pitch with bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I am happy with how we are playing right now. Like I said we have to continue to play good defense and hit the ball well,” Graham said.
The Lady Comets were scheduled to play, as of presstime, at Keys on Tuesday, August 8, at Westville on Thursday, August 10, travel to the Beggs Festival where they take on Red Oaks and Kellyville on Friday, August 11. Monday, August 14 they travel to Ketchum and host Sperry Tuesday, August 15.