Dishing it out with Derek: Sore Spring

Sports

Missouri Western’s springtime is usually dominated by both the baseball and softball teams, but things are off to a shaky start this year for both squads.

Last season, Western softball went 38-20, and was regarded by many to be one of the best teams on campus. The Griffons are currently 3-12 this season and are down considerably in many statistical areas compared to last year.

At the end of their 2017 season, Western had a team batting average .297 and a team earned-run average of 3.25. As of now, the Griffons are batting .302 as a team, but have a staggering 10.06 ERA. Out of the 15 games Western has played, they have given up 10 or more runs in five of those games. No matter how a team’s batting average is, it’s hard to win games when you’re giving up 10 runs a game.

While all this may look bad, there is no need to panic. The combined record of all the teams Western has played this season is 57-29. They have been playing some pretty good teams and conference play hasn’t even begun.

Speaking of the MIAA, Western currently sits at number 10-out-of 13 teams in the conference standings. The only two teams in the MIAA that have winnings records are Washburn University (7-2) and the University of Central Oklahoma (7-4). The conference is practically wide open, as no one in the MIAA have played each other yet.

The Griffons still have 40 games — yes, forty — left to play this season. Western lost six seniors last season and brought in five freshmen. This team is still relatively young as they also have four sophomores on the team. Western has also played the number one team in Division II in Minnesota State University four times this season. Trust me, softball will make the MIAA tournament this season. Some sports on this campus have a knack for making the conference tournament against all odds.

As for the baseball team, they are 5-7 this season after going 32-22 in 2017. The Griffons have the exact same record through 12 games they had last year. I’m not saying that a similar start guarantees a similar season, but there’s no need to doubt this team. This is a team that made the NCAA Central Regional round in 2017. They’re going to be fine.

Now, I may say there is no need to panic over both of these team’s current standings, but that doesn’t mean anyone should become comfortable with where both are at. Softball may have lost to the number one team in Division II, but there’s an old saying I like to go by that they’ll have to adapt to: to be the man, you have to beat the man. In this case, to be the number one team, you have to beat them too.