Although the Eastern University softball team could not complain about the weather, (the song somewhere sunny and 75 comes to mind), the warm temperatures did not help the team come home with the winning record they had hoped for. During the trip to the Tucson Invitational in Arizona the Eagles met up with 5 teams for a ten game “spring training” before returning to the colder St. David’s area at the end of the week. These teams all came from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and were classified as Division 1 and Division 2 programs. The NAIA is the competing collegiate athletic association to the NCAA and to put things into perspective Eastern is a Division 3 NCAA participant.
Flying out to Tucson on Saturday, February 28 led to some hardships as the team had to quickly adjust to new time zones in order to practice Saturday evening before their first double header on Sunday. Siena Heights University was the first adversary that the softball team faced and although the bats were working for the Eagles they dropped both in the double header 3-4 and 1-6. Day two was another tough one as the softball team headed out to face Northwestern College and fell 0-8 in five innings. Tuesday, the ladies were able to enjoy a day of exploring in Arizona, some players chose to go to a Cleveland Indians spring training games while others took in the gorgeous weather by ATVing and hiking up mountains.
After the day off, the Eagles hoped to be refreshed and ready to go, but fell in both games first to Morningside College 4-12 and later in the doubleheader to University of Great Falls 1-11, both games ended after five innings. Thursday, March 5 was a long day for the ladies who aced a triple header starting out against Morningside College at 9am (MST) and ending the day with a double header against Northwestern College the last game starting at 3:30pm (MST). The eagles was upset in all three games 0-6, 4-12, and finally 3-12 in five innings. Eastern could easily have given up after these rough games, but instead came out roaring on Friday for their last two games and managed to pick up their first win of the season against Siena Heights University 8-6. Later in the day they dropped their last contest to Aquinas College 1-7.
Although the results do not look hopeful for the rest of the season, the team is pleased with their progress and the experience they picked up over the week at the invitational. The Eagles have some tough matchups coming up including starting their conference play for the season. Make sure to come out and support the team for their first home game Wednesday, March 18 at 3pm against conference opponent Manhattanville College.