Illinois State’s club softball team returned from a busy weekend where they swept Western Illinois in a three-game series.
ISU bested Western in the first game of the double header on Saturday with a final decision of 12-0 and the second game with a 20-4 score. Sunday wrapped up with a 10-5 score, also in the Redbirds’ favor.
“We had a great positive atmosphere, which is what I love to have in a team,” member Nicole Wagner said. “When people got errors we were able to pick each other up quickly and didn’t let anyone’s one mistake get to us.”
With a limited number of players able to make it to the series, some members of the team were charged with playing unfamiliar positions, such as president Leyla Aiyash, who stepped in as pitcher.
“Based on this weekend, now being comfortable with each other and rotating to different positions … We know we can succeed,” Aiyash said. “We set the bar high for this season.”
There was a large turnover in players after the end of the fall semester, therefore it was unclear how well the new team would work together on the field.
“We basically have an entirely new lineup now and we have only been practicing since February or March … So I was beyond impressed with everyone’s performance,” Aiyash said. “I expected us to do well but I did not expect us to dominate as much as we did.”
Highlights from the game included a standout performance by Abby McFall, who hit two of her first-ever over-the-fence home runs.
“It was awesome to get to celebrate with her at home plate,” Wagner said. “She was only recently added to the team and we are already so proud of her.”
The team is taking this rise in momentum and looking forward to upcoming events during this season.
Club softball is currently in the process of planning its first alumni game, during which former members of ISU club softball will return to campus and challenge the current team in a game.
The ’Birds are expecting over 20 alumni to attend the April 13 game, which will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Champion Fields.
“Our vice president put this all together and she is very organized,” Aiyash said. “She had to contact all of the alumni off of past records and confirm if they were coming, order shirts and make the field reservations, so I am sure it was a whole process.”
“It will be a good opportunity for some girls to catch up with the alumni and for others to make new relationships with them,” Wagner said.