Ever improving its skills, the BYU softball team held a Blue/White inter-team scrimmage Monday — one of two this week that will prepare the team for three games this weekend.
Compared to games and scrimmages in the last couple of weeks, head coach Gordon Eakin and his team ended the shortened four-inning game on a significantly higher note.
After the final inning, as the team gathered to discuss the positive and negative aspects of the game, Eakin explained the improvements made.
“Pitching and defense was superb today,” Eakin said. “They played very clean softball. Hitters put a lot of pressure on them early, got on base and our defense and pitching responded. Our pitching’s going really well right now, and I thought our hitting came around a little bit today — even though we didn’t score —and showed that we’re progressing.”
Four pitchers were circulated throughout the scrimmage — Tori Almond, Hannah Howell, Carly Duckworth and Caroline Umphlett — allowing versatility and practice in a game-like setting.
“When pitching in scrimmages, the difference for me is that I’m a game-time pitcher,” freshman Umphlett said. “When I know it’s big-time competition, my adrenaline just goes from one to 10. [In scrimmages,] I know everyone on the team — their weaknesses and their strengths and I know how to work with them. But when we face other teams, it’s just a big adrenaline rush and so exciting.”
Compared to earlier Blue/White scrimmages, and now that the Cougars have faced actual opponents, Eakin said he has noticed specific improvements amongst the team.
“[The games] are cleaner now because we’re fighting better,” Eakin said. “Cleaner throws, better catches, better pitches, better patience at the plate … it’s getting a lot better. ”
Techniques spread well across the board during the scrimmage with plenty of strikeouts, walks, bunts, steals and fly balls. All positions of the field committed, with many outs caught by outfielders and infielders alike.
Eakin said even though the offense battled, even though the pressure was on, the defense still made excellent plays.
BYU has one more chance to scrimmage — Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Miller Field — before the three games this weekend.