By Anna Kayser
Iowa softball’s sweep over Wisconsin was a big step forward for the program, and it had to do with trusting the process in making adjustments at the plate.
The Hawkeye offense began a cold stretch on March 28, when the Hawkeyes suffered a 3-1 loss to Drake at home.
Following an unsuccessful series at Maryland in which Iowa scored only 3 runs, there was a need for a change. The April 4 matchup against Northern Iowa was postponed, and the bats had a full week to work in practice.
April 7 against Wisconsin proved that the current lineup is buying into the process that the coaching staff has preached the whole season.
“It’s a fresh new start,” right fielder McKenzie Schneider said. “Every day’s a new beginning, and we just got a clean slate, so [we] just came out there swinging and believing in ourselves.”
To jump-start the offense, head coach Marla Looper preaches one thing over and over.
“The biggest thing is just making adjustments, making big adjustments so then we can narrow it down to smaller adjustments,” Looper says.
One big adjustment that the lineup has learned to make over the season is moving to the front or the back of the box.
By moving closer or farther away from the pitcher, it gives the batter a better chance to see the ball either before or after it breaks in any pitch.
“I think Schneider did a nice job in her at bat of letting the ball get deep and squaring it up,” Looper said. “That leadoff home run really gave us a little bit of a spark. After Schneider, then we just continued to roll and the rally. We had some great at bats and great opportunities, and fortunately we came away with the W.”
Hitting inspires hitting, and buying into the process is all about trusting what you need to do for your team.
Using the energy from a potential comeback is important to not falling short.
“Coming out of the dugout going into that last half inning, just put all that energy out there,” Looper said. “No sense in having any when the day’s over, because there’s not another game, so let’s leave it all on the field, and I think our team did that.”
For the weekend series, the field and how the weather affected it created an advantage.
Ground balls reacted differently from normal, helping the slappers to get on base.
“We got some timely hits in individual innings, and it was nice to be able to use Pearl in a positive way, which we did today with the nice big choppers,” Looper said. “We had the slappers on base, the speed, and it was fun to kind of manufacture some things then, too. It was nice to see some certain people step up that haven’t had that opportunity yet.”