USUE Softball Impresses at CSN Kickoff Classic

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By Mary Hart, USU Eastern Sports Information Contributor

The USU Eastern Lady Eagles headed to Henderson, Nevada Jan. 30 and 31 to play in the CSN Kickoff Classic. Overall, the team had four wins and only one loss on the weekend.

They started play on Friday at 10:30 a.m. against Jones College. Unfortunately, the game ended in a 17-0 loss.

The Eagles then took on Central Arizona College and came out with a 13-12 win. The Lady Eagles started the game off with a 2-0 lead but Central Arizona answered back with five runs. USU Eastern did not give up. During the second inning, the Lady Eagles came back and scored four more runs. Central Arizona then took the lead one more time but the Eagles were able to come back in the seventh inning to take the win.

The Eagles then went on to play Northwest Kansas Technical College (NKTC) and secured a 17-2 win. The Eagles started the first inning off hot, scoring 12 runs. They only allowed NKTC to score one in the second inning and one in the fourth and ended the game in the fifth inning in a run rule.

On Saturday, the Eagles had their first game against 16th nationally ranked Yavapai College. The Eagles started the game off with a 3-0 lead in the first inning and then a 7-0 lead going into the fourth inning. This was the end of scoring for the Eagles and Yavapai was able to get six runs in, but USUE held them to just that and took the exciting win.

The last game of the tournament was against Eastern Arizona College. This game was a game of battling back. The first inning was scoreless for both teams; however, in the second inning, Eastern Arizona took a 3-0 lead. The Lady Eagles were able to tie it up in the third inning. Arizona then went to take the lead again in the top of the fifth inning, but the Eagles came right back and tied it up again. In the seventh inning, Arizona once again took the lead 6-5. At the bottom of the inning, sophomore Alicia Cruz drove in freshman Jenna Sutliff and Marisa Bowman for a walk off win.

“The way we played together as a unit is scary. We are truly unstoppable,” said Sutliff. “All our fate is in our hands and I think we proved that this weekend not only to ourselves, but to all the other teams that overlooked us as well. I’m excited to see what this season has in store for us. After our terrible loss, I think we as a whole stepped our game up and it showed that we are hungry. We trusted our bats and all the extra work we have been putting in and more.”

“It was a good weekend and we learned a lot,” said head coach Shelby Shurtliff. “Despite our first game being a loss, we pulled together and started to play to our potential. It was fun to see everyone have each other’s backs. When someone didn’t have a good at bat, the next girl up would pull through and keep it going. The games we won this weekend were against well-respected programs and they were huge wins for us. I’m proud of the girls for the grit they showed and their refusal to lose even when we were down.”

The Lady Eagles will be heading to Yuma, Arizona Feb. 6-8 to play in the Great Western Shootout.

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