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Miami looks to improve play in next tournament

By Jordan Rinard
On March 13, 2014

The Miami University softball team enters the Michelle Smith Spring Break Tournament this weekend coming off a two-win weekend in its first homestand of the season. The RedHawks (6-10) take on the University of Maine, Seton Hall University, the University of Connecticut, Boston University and the University of St. Joseph's this weekend.

"We saw a glimpse of what kind of team we can be last weekend," head coach Clarisa Crowell said. "We played with a lot of heart, energy and emotion on Saturday [against Austin Peay State University]. We just need to play that way every day. Our attitude and demeanor this week has been awesome and we look to get back on track against some good teams."

Senior catcher Kayla Ledbetter said Saturday's effort was much better than Sunday's.

"It was two completely different teams [on Saturday and Sunday]," Ledbetter said. "We need to find that team that played on Saturday. We were aggressive with our hitting, we were confident, and we played hard with a sense of urgency."  

The offense for Miami is starting to improve as it now has six players batting at or near .300. Ledbetter currently leads the team with a .345 batting average with two home runs and five RBIs. Senior second baseman Kristy Arbour senior first baseman Allie Larrabee, and sophomore first baseman Hailey Reed are not far off the lead with respective averages of .327, .325 and .300. They have accounted for 18 of the team's RBIs.

Sophomore third baseman Remy Edwards and junior right fielder Taylor Shuey are close to breaking .300 with averages of .294 and .283, respectively. The 'Hawks currently bat .261 as a team with six home runs, 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases on the season.

The offense has also done some nice things in regards to getting runners on base as Ledbetter, Reed and Larrabee all have an on-base percentage exceeding .400. However, the Red and White have not been efficient in driving runners in this season, registering only six home runs and 56 RBIs, while stranding 102 on base.

"We need to improve our hitting with runners in scoring position," Ledbetter said. "We also need to work on our bunts, especially sacrifice bunts, since we sometimes bunt to get hits. We need to work on moving runners and hit with runners in scoring position under pressure. It's easy to hit in the third inning with no outs and no score, but what about in the seventh when you need a run?"

Sophomore pitcher Amber Logemann has been lights out on the mound in her last two outings as she threw 12 innings against Austin Peay and Canisius College and only allowed three earned runs while recording 10 strikeouts in the games. The pitching staff has been inconsistent as a whole this season with a 4.13 ERA, 63 strikeouts and 13 homers allowed.

The defense has made strides recently since it has made two fielding errors in the past four games and has improved its team fielding percentage to .961, which is higher than its opponents' .959 up to this point in the season.

"For our defense, we need to continue to build off our play last weekend and our offense needs to pick it up," Crowell said. "We need to work on getting timely hits. We put ourselves in good situations but we just can't find that one big hit. Our pitching needs to eliminate the long ball and the big, clutch hits."

The RedHawks take on Maine at 9:30 a.m. and Seton Hall at 11:45 a.m. Friday before taking on Connecticut at 9:30 a.m. and Boston at 2:15 p.m. the following day. The team wraps up play with a 9 a.m. meeting with St. Joseph's Sunday.


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