Feb. 23, 2015

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

For students over 21, Las Vegas can serve two purposes: a weekend of festivities or for softball games.

The first weekend of play for the softball team began with two wins, then ended with three losses. Head coach Scott Peterson said the team was close to its goal for the Las Vegas trip.

“Our expectations were to be over .500 [win percentage],” said Peterson. “I thought the way the schedule was set up, I thought we had a great opportunity to hit that goal. We just didn’t get it done. We are going to work on some things in the areas that we need to.”

The games against Simon Fraser and Mary ended in victories, 11-7 and 8-7. But the Mountain Lions would only score four runs in the next three games, getting shutout twice.

“I thought our pitching was good enough to win, but our offense won us those games,” said Peterson. “We were pleased to get right out of the box with two wins. Up and down the line-up everybody hit, we ran the bases well.”

“What was disappointing was that we completely went the other way in the next three games.”

The young talent for the Mountain Lions stepped up. Two freshmen, Whitney Weber and Kylie Barnard, both went three-of-five between the first two wins of the season.

“It reminded me a lot of travel softball [in the summer] except it was for college,” said Weber. “They were really exciting because they were so fast paced. There was definitely a difference between high school and college.”

“The first couple games were very exciting but very nerve racking,” added Barnard. “There was a lot of adrenaline in the games so I just tried to have some fun.”

Peterson felt the freshmen got acclimated in the Vegas heat.

“Our freshmen played great,” said Peterson. “Kylie and Whitney both played great. We do have high expectations for those two but they we our two best players for the weekend.”

“I just really wanted to do my part and get my job done,” said Barnard. “I just wanted to contribute to the team.”

Both Barnard and Weber explained they have an influential and encouraging senior driving them to be the best they can be.

“Korey [Kulpins] has really helped me with the mental side of softball and being confident in myself,” Barnard. “She helps me when I’m up to bat and in the field.”

“I’d have to say MJ [Emily Jennings], just because she is always encouraging me and making sure I know I did a good job at what I did,” said Weber. “She’s great at reinforcement.”

The Mountain Lions will next be at home on March 7 and 8 against New Mexico Highlands. Game times on March 7 are noon and 2 p.m., and game times on March 8 are 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.