Sandburg Softball Shrugging Off Slow Start to Spring

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 17, 2017 2:50 PM

Galesburg, IL

Despite a winless start, Carl Sandburg College softball coach Todd Winkler doesn’t see any reason for the Chargers to panic.
“We’ve played some tough opponents early on,” Winkler said. “At this point in the season, we’re more focused on execution than results. Wins are a bonus, but we want to make sure we’re going about things the right way with a focus toward playing our best in April and May.”
The Chargers (0-6) faced Kirkwood (Iowa), the fourth-ranked team in Division II, and Division I Southeastern (Iowa) before their Spring Break trip last weekend to the Florida Panhandle. Sandburg dropped doubleheaders to Division I foes Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) and Jefferson Davis (Ala.) before the second half of its schedule was wiped out because of inclement weather, but the Chargers’ opponents down South had a decided advantage going in. Wallace had played 14 games and Davis 24 before facing Sandburg.
“That’s always the challenge on that trip. You’re facing teams that have played more games and have had more reps than you do,” Winkler said. “For us, it was about getting outside, seeing live pitching and getting some game action.”
The Chargers grabbed early leads in two of the contests but totaled just eight runs in their four games. Still, Winkler saw positives on the trip.
“Overall, I liked the way we swung the bat. We just didn’t string together enough hits when we had runners on,” Winkler said. “I thought our pitchers did a pretty good job, and up until the last game, when we had four errors, we were really solid defensively. Before that, we had just one error on the whole trip.”
Freshman Becca Tharp (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg), who joined the team after graduating from GHS a semester early, leads Sandburg with a .467 average, .529 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage. Sophomore Chelsea Lesniewski (Fulton, Ill./Fulton) has hit .316 in the early going and is tied with Tharp for the team lead with three doubles.
“I’m confident we’ll score some more runs once the weather starts to warm up and we start getting more regular game reps,” Winkler said. “Our success is going to depend a lot on how well we can pitch and defend.”

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