After an unimpressive start to its season, the Georgetown softball team (1-7) will look to turn things around when it travels to Spartansburg, S.C., this weekend for the Coke Zero Spartan Classic.
The Hoyas hope to repeat their performance from last year’s tournament, where they won all three of their games. Not only did the Blue and Gray go undefeated in the tournament, they didn’t allow a run and posted 21 of their own.
One of the Hoyas’ wins came against crosstown rival Howard (3-3), whom the team will face again this year in their third game of the tournament on Saturday. While the other opponents differ from last year’s, Georgetown still hopes to come home with the title — but will need to play a solid all-around game to do so.
“We need to put a complete game together offensively and defensively,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “We need to find a way to play with a level of consistency every game.”
The Hoyas are going into this weekend needing wins after going 0-3 last weekend in the East Carolina Tournament, losing all three games by the same score, 3-1
While their pitching has not been dominant thus far, it is hard to blame the team’s play at the mound when the offense has failed to produce more than one run in each game. Of the three runs the Blue and Gray put on the board last weekend, only one was earned.
The Georgetown pitching staff — led by sophomores Lauren O’Leary and Megan Hyson — has the talent to pitch a strong enough game to lead the team the victory. The key will be to pitch a complete game without any mishaps, as allowing one big inning has hurt the Hoyas tremendously. In five of the team’s seven losses, the Blue and Gray have given up multiple runs in an inning.
Conlan believes a strong start and consistency will be key to her team’s pitching this weekend.
“We want to work on first pitch strikes, staying ahead in the count and getting the lead out of the inning,” she said “Our goal is to pitch seven strong innings.”
As important as pitching is, it alone cannot win games. Georgetown needs to get its bats going and to produce runs this weekend.
The team certainly has the potential for good offensive performances. Senior catcher Shikara Lowe currently leads the offense. Lowe is batting .385 in five games this season for the Hoyas; no other player is hitting above .250. That has to change.
“This weekend will be tremendous competition,” Conlan said. “Each of the teams we play will be strong in the pitching circle, defensively and swing good bats.”
Georgetown will face Presbyterian (4-6) in the first game of the tournament today. The Blue Hose present perhaps the best opportunity for the Hoyas to claim their second win, as neither team has proven themselves yet this season.
The Hoyas will then face the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats (8-3) in the second game of the tournament on Saturday. Kentucky is not just the best opponent they will face this weekend, but probably the best team they will play all season. The Wildcats are a nationally ranked team and are leaps and bounds ahead of the Hoyas — at least on paper.
Georgetown will play its second game on Saturday against Howard. Despite shutting out the Bison last season, the Blue and Gray are will have their work cut out for them. Howard is coming into the weekend having won the final two games of its tournament last weekend and will look to build on that run.
The final game will be against tournament host USC Upstate (8-0) on Sunday. The Spartans are going into the weekend having allowed only four runs all season.
With four talented opponents on deck this weekend, leaving the tournament victorious will be no easy feat. But if the Hoyas can combine dominant pitching and hot bats, they have a chance to claim a few wins in South Carolina.