ISU softball works on defensive consistency


Makenna Martin/Iowa State Daily

Freshman pitcher, Emma Hylen, pitches for Iowa State on Sep. 21.

Curran Mclaughlin

Rain poured hard onto the field.

Puddles started to form like ponds around each base, creating a white-squared island. A foot-wide moat around the outskirt of the softball dirt was forming. Lightning flashed in the distance, resetting the 30-minute delay at the Cyclones Sports Complex.

The ISU softball team couldn’t finish its second game against Indiana State (7-24, 1-5 MVC), but it did win its first game 3-2.

The Cyclones were tied with the Sycamores at two runs apiece since the first inning, but a solo home run into left field in the bottom of the fourth by third baseman Sally Woolpert to put the team ahead proved to be all they needed to win.

From there on, closing pitcher Emma Hylen and the Cyclones defense wouldn’t allow a single run for the rest of the game.

“She’s pretty tough in that relief role, and she did a great job [coming in tonight],” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler.

Emma only walked one batter and had three strikeouts in the three innings she pitched, earning her third save of the season.

“Warming up, I had a plan of what I was going to throw coming in,” Hylen said. “I felt pretty relaxed, focused and confident.”

With the defense playing well, Hylen pitched with the confidence that her team could back her up.

In the sixth inning, Iowa State was in a bad spot against Indiana State. With a runner on third and two outs, Hylen almost gave up a run with a ball hit down between second and third.

That’s when shortstop Brittany Gomez snapped in to action.

Sliding to her knees she grabbed the ball that nearly got past her. Without getting up she hurled the ball to catcher Sammie Hildreth who was then in easy position to make the final out of the inning and ultimately helped Iowa State seal the game up.

“I was just thinking of the outs. Getting one out at a time,” Gomez said. “When it happens you just kind of react to it. Whatever it takes to stop it and make a play for that.”

Despite having very good defensive play in their first game, it went the other way in their second match against Indiana State.

The fourth inning of game two saw the Cyclones giving up four hits for four runs and then two more runs after. Even though the game doesn’t count on the record because it rained out, the cause for concern is there for the Cyclones, who will move forward into conference play Friday.

“It’s great knowing that our pitchers can do all they can. We just have to need to make sure that we can back them up on defense,” Gomez said.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler said she couldn’t agree more.

“We didn’t play well, moving forward you have to play well way more consistently,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler said game issues are addressed in practice every week, which is what they constantly strive to work on.

“Show up tomorrow [to practice] and go through all those things that come up and grind them through and feel good about going into Baylor on Friday,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.