BYU softball prepares for game-filled weekend

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Though BYU softball is scheduled to play three different opponents this weekend, hoping to put a few more wins on its preseason record, the sole focus for the team is to improve offensively.

The Cougars will face Snow College today at 4 p.m., and Southern Utah on Saturday at 2 p.m., immediately followed by Salt Lake Community College at 4:30 p.m. All games will take place at Miller Field, on the north side of BYU campus.

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BYU outfielder Carly Duckworth gets a hit during Monday's blue and white scrimmage at Miller Park.

Despite the daunting schedule, head coach Gordon Eakin stresses the importance of preseason as a time for learning. Fall games are more about learning and growing as a team, and each game yields new areas to improve on, Eakin said.

“This week we want to continue where we’re at with pitching and defense, and get better offensively,” Eakin said. “We’ll focus on offense the rest of the week, and not lose any ground with pitching and defense. I think it should all come together this weekend. That’s what we’re striving for.”

BYU softball used the two Blue/White scrimmages earlier this week to practice real-game scenarios and understand what was looking good, as well as what needed to be focused on.

“[Eakin] said our defense looked really good yesterday, so now we just need to hit,” said catcher Shelbi Everett, a freshman. “I’m really excited for the games. I love playing, and we should do well.”

For freshman pitcher Caroline Umphlett, multiple games are nothing new.

“I’ve played travel ball before [BYU],” Umphlett said. “We would go to tournaments and play eight to nine games in a weekend, and they’d all be against different teams. I look at it as a challenge. I go to every game the same way — I’m ready. [This weekend’s] not any different. I’m going to go out there with a clear mind and just go at it.”

Pressuring hitters with presence on the field is another key aspect for the weekend’s games, Umphlett said.

Rainy weather was an issue last weekend, resulting in the cancellation of a game. This weekend, though, the expected forecast remains in the low 70s.

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