Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Graciee Christiansen
Pre-season has officially begun for the Lady Eagles softball team. This past weekend, they traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to play in the CSN Classic Tournament.
Throughout the weekend, the girls faced Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Eastern Arizona College (ranked 12th), Glendale Community College, Arizona Western College and Central Arizona College (ranked ninth). After a long weekend and a game going into extra innings, the Eagles were able to walk away with a perfect record.
Kalsey Lopes had two home runs and three doubles on the weekend. Brinnley Anderson, Brinley Johnson and Graciee Christiansen had home runs, Maggie Whipple had a triple, and Gia Bruno had three doubles, while many other players were able to get extra base hits, helping secure their wins.
While the Eagles have a bunch of young talent, their sophomore pitchers helped out tremendously in the last five games with a combined total of 23 innings pitched from the sophomores, and 10 innings from the young freshman. Transfer pitcher Lexi Butterfield was able to throw 11 of the 33 innings at the CSN Classic.
“One of the reasons I chose Eastern was because of the softball program. The team has been very welcoming, and I feel like I am able to talk to any of the girls when I need to. We are all able to work as a team and I love that,” stated Butterfield.
Butterfield was able to clench six strikeouts. Preslee Christensen walked away with 14, Brinley Johnson had eight and Paige Shumway had two on the weekend. With the pitching staff having a combined ERA of 3.7 on the weekend, the Eagles’ pitching staff was working hard to keep the record.
Central Arizona gave the winning Eagles a run for their money. Going into the seventh inning, the score was 2-4 for Central. That was until freshman Alex Deming stepped to the plate, pushing two runs across to tie the game.
“Honestly, knowing I needed to get a base hit and do a job for my team kept me really calm and focused,” said Deming. “I have always loved being in high-pressure situations, so I felt very confident walking up to the plate.”
Going into the eighth inning, Central scored a run and managed to get the bases loaded with two outs. Brinley Johnson then entered the game from the bullpen.
“I was filled with excitement as well as all of the nerves of going into a situation like that,” stated the young pitcher. “The only thing I was thinking as I walked out there is what Kalsey told me earlier, ‘Trust it and stay out of your head. You got this.’ I knew I had a great defense behind me.”
Johnson was able to get the last out on her own and bring the Eagles into the Nest for their final at bat where they were able to pull off the win.
This upcoming weekend will be the Lady Eagles’ final preseason tournament in Yuma, Arizona. There will be six games, four of which will be against teams they have already faced.