Springwood softball ready to face Glenwood

Published 8:47 pm Monday, March 12, 2018

LANETT — After Monday’s practice, Springwood School softball coach Galen Smith saw the excitement on his players’ faces.

He welcomed it.

On Tuesday, the Lady Wildcats (8-9) will host three-time defending AISA Class AAA state champion Glenwood School in their area opener.

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“They’re excited and ready for the opportunity,” Smith said.

Smith interpreted his team’s anticipation as a sign of its resilience. He knows it would be easy for them to approach the matchup with a doom-and-gloom mentality.

Already, the Lady Wildcats have fallen to Glenwood three times this season. The most recent loss occurred this past weekend, when the Lady Gators piled on the runs in a 17-2 victory at their home tournament.

But none of the past defeats count toward the area standings, since they took place in a tournament setting. 

That means Springwood enters Tuesday’s game with the comfort of a clean slate.

“They’re bouncing back pretty good,” Smith said.

Springwood has played in tournaments each of the past two weekends. It went 1-4 at the Edgewood Academy Tournament March 2-3 and 2-3 at the Glenwood Tournament.

In total, Springwood contested 11 games in a seven-day period. A midweek loss to Edgewood bridged the two tournaments.

Smith said he felt like his team became fatigued amid its busy stretch.

But he thinks it will serve his players well in the long run.

“You’ve got to want to be able to play those people and compete against the top teams,” Smith said. “Playing in these tournaments the past two weekends maybe will help us throughout the season.”

Smith said his team has a shot at upending Glenwood on Tuesday, as long as it takes care of the fundamentals.

Minimizing fielding errors and baserunning mistakes will be particularly important. Recently, the team has struggled in those two departments.

“We’re still not quite where we need to be as far as eliminating the bad inning,” Smith said.

Emma Jennings will likely start in the circle for Springwood.

The sophomore ace has led the team in innings pitched, ahead of fellow sophomore McKayla Barber.

Along with Lucy Spivey and Allie Davis, Barber has paced the team offensively.

She has belted four home runs in the past week and a half. Three came in a single game last Tuesday at Edgewood.

Showings like that have provided Smith with his own excitement.

He’s optimistic more will follow. 

“Eventually, we’ll sneak up on somebody,” Smith said. “Then once we do that, who knows what’s going to happen? With the skill set that we have, we could catch fire.”

First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST.