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Softball team splits doubleheader against Morehead State
Senior center fielder Kayla Fortner scored the winning run for Southeast Missouri State University softball. It was in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday against Morehead State, and she hit her 13th home run in the second game.
"Honestly, I'm just trying to get the ball up the middle right now," Fortner said. "If it happens to go out, I'm happy about it."
On April 18, Southeast hosted two games and lost the second with a score of 3-1. Although Southeast scored the only run in the first game, the team got only one hit in the second game compared to Morehead State's seven.
Junior Chelsea Smith, the catcher for Southeast, said being close to winning the second game was "frustrating."
"I think honestly the most trouble we were having was, mentally, I feel like we may have just kind of had it," Smith said. "We weren't sitting on what the pitcher was giving us, and we weren't making the adjustments that we needed to make."
Fortner said that the Redhawks were swinging at more pitches than they should, and she did not think the pitch selection was good. Senior second baseman Meaghan Touchette said that she thought Southeast's pitching selection was good until it came to dealing with bunts.
At the top of the third inning, the Eagles started bunting, and they started getting runs. After freshman catcher Robyn Leighton got the first base, left fielder L. Margagliotti and center fielder Kayla McGuffey bunted, and Dana Hutchins got the first RBI with a hit to right field.
Two of Morehead's runs were scored in the third inning, and they made at least four bunts throughout the second game.
"Earlier in the year, we struggled a little bit with our bunting, so I think word got around that we struggled with our bunting defense," Touchette said. "But, I think that besides the beginning of today, for the most part, lately it's improved impeccably."
Smith said that Southeast's defense against bunts has improved over the last month.
"I feel like when we get in a rush we sort of try to rush the throw, and maybe it pulls to the to the second baseman or the first baseman in the line where they lose vision of the ball," Smith said.
At the top of the fifth inning, the Eagles hit a ball toward the left-field line. Southeast's coach Mark Redburn started speaking to the umpire Marvin Eaton. At the same time Morehead's Lindsay ward, designated hitter, made a bunt, Redburn shook his head and threw his arms out in an upward motion.
"He's fighting for us," Fortner said. "I love to have a coach that fights for you, for anything, you know, even a play like that."
Fortner, Smith and Touchette agree that the team was experiencing anxiety or felt "down in [their] head." These games put Southeast at 11-22 and 6-11 for the Ohio Valley Conference.
"We're not out of the tournament or anything," Smith said. "We're still in contention, so as long as we keep our heads, have a level head and everything, we'll be fine."
As for the 13th home run, Smith and Touchette said that they look up to Fortner even though they are both upper classmen.
"Yeah, I want to be like her when I grow up," Smith said with a smile.