Takeaways: Areas to improve following Big 4 Classic for softball

Iowa State softball coaches Courtney Herron-Martinez and Kate Sinnott have been promoted to associate head coach.

Christian Royston

Iowa State traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to finish out the fall softball season. Although they came out of the weekend with a couple of losses, the team should have the insight they need to figure out how to prepare for the regular season this spring

The Cyclones started off the weekend with a tough loss to Drake. They then bounced back with a victory over Northern Iowa and a close-game against Iowa to leave the Big 4 Classic going 1-2. Even though the scrimmages do not count to the team’s record, the losses to end the fall season will show the team what they need to work on going forward.

Good clean-up pitching

The Iowa State bullpen did struggle early on in the games over the weekend. In the games against Iowa and UNI, the bullpen did a good job of not allowing too many runs.

The game against Drake gives the team some areas to work on. In the first four innings of the game, the bullpen gave up eight earned runs, which proved too much for the Cyclones to come back from.

Sophomore Saya Swain did a great job cleaning up the remaining four innings. She gave up only three hits in her appearance on the mound and did an excellent job keeping Drake to only two runs. 

Throughout the weekend, the Iowa State pitchers would do a great job closing out the games and giving the team a chance to win.

Junior Karlie Charles did a great job handling a bulk of the innings against UNI, while Senior Shannon Mortimer closed out the game giving up zero hits. In the final game against Iowa, Junior Ellie Spelhaug pitched the final six and two-thirds innings and gave up only four hits.

The fall season highlighted many great abilities that each pitcher brings to the game. It also allowed the team to figure out what they need to work on most, to see success in the upcoming spring season.

Costly errors 

One thing that the Cyclones have been working on is cleaning up their errors. The past weekend gave the team a final look at the defense before it is time to prepare for the regular season.

In the game against Drake, many factors resulted in the 4-14 loss, but the errors cannot be overlooked. Iowa State had three errors early in the game and allowed 14 runs to be scored off only 13 hits.

The two errors in the game against UNI and the one error in the game against Iowa were not as costly, but still need to be cleaned up. 

The defense did come back strong after the loss to Drake. They only allowed four runs to score off of 13 hits through two games. 

Overall, the defense was able to get in good quality reps during the Big 4 Classic and will look to improve before the spring season. 

Excellent power hitting

Although Iowa State did lose two of the three games this weekend, the team showed great ability to swing for the fences. 

Five Iowa State batters were able to hit home runs this weekend, to account for eight of the total 13 runs they would score. This intensity and intent to win is something that the team is going to want to build on while preparing for the regular season. 

Iowa State did a great job hitting with power, but they will need to figure out how to leave less people on base going forward. They were able to put up plenty of hits, but did not take advantage of that to put up runs in some circumstances.

The Cyclones put up six hits in the last game against Iowa, but was only able to score one run off a homer by Junior Alesia Ranches. This one score would not be enough to take down the Hawkeyes.

Throughout the fall season, Iowa State has displayed excellent plate discipline. The slow start they had in the games this weekend would end up getting the better of them.

The Big 4 Classic was a good learning experience for the team and should give them the information they need to succeed in the regular season.