It wasn’t the best weekend in the history books for the Georgia softball program, but it was a good weekend for note-taking and analysis of the team’s progress thus far in the early going of the season. Georgia won the first game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic against Colorado State before losing four games in a row to Cal-Poly, Oklahoma, Stanford, and Washington. The bats went cold in the middle three games of the tournament, and that is ultimately what made the two games against Stanford and Oklahoma uncompetitive. I still have a lot of hope and expectations for this team and think the team chemistry will grow a lot from this trip out West! It is all about how you respond and fight back, and I think these Bulldogs have an entire season and postseason worth of fight left in them!
Georgia defeated Colorado State by a final score of 5-4 in dramatic fashion. Glasco picked up the win in the circle, allowing a season-high nine hits, striking out five, and walking none. Glasco would also hit what proved to be the game winning home run in the top of the 5th inning against the CSU Rams. Tina Iosefa was 2/4 in the game and Sito was 2/3.
In the second game of the weekend, Georgia squared off against Keilani Ricketts and the Oklahoma Sooners–currently ranked #1/2 in the nation. Morgan Montemayor got the start against the Sooners and gave up four earned runs in the opening two frames of play. After being down 4-0, Chelsea Wilkinson was brought in to pitch and looked stellar. She struck out Chamberlain and Ricketts, en route to three innings pitched and only one earned run against the top offense in the nation. I thought Chelsea was the bright spot in this game, showing that we do have a pitcher on our staff who can spin the ball to all quadrants of the plate and get by big hitters when needed. Samantha LaZear was the only kid from Georgia’s team to register a hit against Ricketts, who fanned ten Georgia batters in her complete-game effort. For LaZear to get a hit off of a USA national team pitcher and arguably the best pitcher in the country is an astounding feat and surely something she will remember for a long time to come!
Georgia began the second day of play by facing off against the Cal-Poly Mustangs–a team whose record was deceiving as they had beaten a ranked team already in the season (Washington) and had lost most of their games by only a single run. The pitcher for Cal-Poly, Wurst, had nothing flashy but was efficient against the Bulldogs. She scattered just four hits and pitched the complete-game shutout. Georgia had a plethora of opportunities to score in this game, but fell short against a very gritty Cal-Poly program. This was a tough loss for Geri Ann Glasco, as she struck out nine batters, gave up only six hits, and the only run scored in the game came on a bases-loaded walk to Whitley Gerhart. This was a tough loss!
Against Stanford, the bats were cold yet again. Stanford took an early 1-0 lead off two Georgia errors, and that is all they would need as Georgia would be held scoreless by rookie pitcher, Kelsey Stevens. Georgia had even more opportunities to plate runners in this game as well, but Stanford turned an eye-popping three double plays against the Dawgs, eventually leading to a 6-0 demise. Montemayor pitched pretty well, only giving up one earned run in four innings pitched, but when Wilkinson was brought in, a Sarah Hassman long ball that scored three would prove to be the melting point for the Bulldogs. Wilkinson got a few strikeouts on the Cardinal batters, but seemed to be a lot more tense in this game than she was against the Sooners. I would like to see these two teams cross paths again in the post-season because I think Georgia can take it to them if they were to play again.
The final game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic proved to be, perhaps, the most dissapointing game. But, in terms of lessons learned, this game was a big one. Montemayor was left in for the duration of the game and she was lit up in the first inning, but not again until the end of the game. Washington went on top 4-0 in the first inning off of an error and a string of Husky hits. Georgia would cut the deficit in half thanks to RBIs from Tess Sito and Sam LaZear, but ultimately it would not be enough. Despite not giving up a hit since the second inning of the game, Montemayor had it taken to her in the last two frames of the game, giving up five runs in both the 6th and 7th innings. I like the move to leave her in that game because it would have done no good (confidence-wise) to have brought in one of the rookies. Morgan will learn, and should have already, that it takes more than locating your fastball to be competitive at this level. From what I was told, the change-up was not working well at all this weekend, and when that pitch is not working for her, things tend to get nasty at times. Needless to say, Washington went on to tame the Bulldogs by a 14-2 score.
I think this weekend will let the coaches truly know what they need to work on the most at practice. Good things are on the horizon for this young team and I think they will right the ship here very soon! Tess is completely recovered now from her hand injury and will be able to pitch in this upcoming weekend’s Bulldog Invitational in Athens. Tess could be the missing link that helps bring this team together and makes them stronger. I like the idea of Geri Ann and Tess rotating pitching, with Mo assuming the relief role. Wilkinson will get her share of starts this year too, similarly to the role Sito played last year. Next year will be her year to really shine seeing as how we only have this year to use Sito because of it being her final year. I cannot wait to see these girls grow and learn some important lessons along the way.
I am going to be pretty dedicated these next few weeks! I am going up to Rock Hill to watch the girls play in the ADIDAS Invitational, before heading down to Auburn the following weekend to watch them open up SEC plays at the Tiger home base. I cannot wait to travel on the road and watch these girls get better!
As always, Go Dawgs!
PS: Since I did not go, I was unable to get any pictures of the event. I will try to find a link to some photo albums from the tournament.