ISU softball keeps on working on offense


Senior catcher Sammie Hildreth came up to the plate with runners on second and third and the chance to take the lead. Hildreth went a perfect 3 for 3 with three RBI’s and two scored runs in the 8-7 win against Eastern Illinois on Feb. 12. 

Curran Mclaughlin

After stumbling against UC-Davis (7-7, 0-0 Big West) in a 6-4 loss early in the weekend, Iowa State kicked the offensive production into overdrive as it steamrolled through the rest of the weekend.

The Cyclones would go on to outscore their next three opponents, 16-5, posting a shutout against New Mexico (8-7, 0-0 Mountain West) and finishing the UC-Davis Aggie Invitational with 3-1 record to improve to 10-4 overall for the season.

Iowa State didn’t allow more than three runs in wins against South Dakota (1-14, 0-0 Summit League) and Idaho State (5-10, 0-0 Big Sky Conference). In their three wins during the weekend, the Cyclones jumped to early leads and forced their opponents to unsuccessfully play catch-up.

In the UC-Davis game, Iowa State was unsuccessful in scoring early, despite having the bases loaded in the first inning. UC-Davis took the lead in the first two innings and refused to relinquish it despite Iowa State’s best efforts.

Scoring early and translating base runners to runs is one of the struggles Iowa State had in its two losses last weekend. It’s an area that Iowa State wants to improve one. 

ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler knows that the talent is there offensively, it’s just capitalizing on early hits.

“If we score five runs a game we’re going to win a lot of games. I think our pitchers can hold people to under [five runs],” Gemeihardt-Cesler said.

The lucky number for Iowa State this season would actually be six not five. When scoring six or more runs in games this season the Cyclones are a perfect 8-0. In games where they score four and under, their record drops to 2-4.

The Cyclones are also 6-0 when scoring in the first inning and 7-2 when scoring the first run. Gemeinhardt-Cesler stresses that minimizing errors and strategic batting

“[We can’t be] running into silly outs,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We always want to be aggressive, but we want to make sure we aren’t having unforced errors on the base path.”

Senior shortstop Brittany Gomez and freshman third baseman Sally Woolpert know there is work that needs to be done when batting. Iowa State is able to put runners on, but the team seems to lose steam in the batter’s box as the inning goes on.

“If we get the single base hits in the beginning, then our big hitters can get singles and doubles [and help] scoring [runners],” said Gomez, who had six hits and six runs this weekend.

Gomez knows that improvements need to be made to keep the success going.

“We’ve been getting singles but not scoring them.” Gomez said.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler doesn’t expect all of her batters to have great days, but she expects them to do what’s best for the team.

“[The batters need to] understand when you get to the batter’s box what needs to happen,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Whether it’s grounding it to the right, bunting or hitting a sacrifice pop fly, Iowa State’s offense has multiple ways to help advance runners to score those crucial runs.

Despite the need for improvements, Gemeinhardt-Cesler is happy with the way this young Cyclones team has been fighting to improve every single game.

“They’ve been figuring it out,” Gemeinhard-Cesler said.