SWEEP: Softball starts strong in conference play



The St. Edward’s softball team has swept its way into a first-place tie in the Heartland Conference standings with St. Mary’s University, as both teams hold a 5-1 record.

“We need to continue to take our regional games very seriously,” Mullins said. “We’ve been playing tough regional teams, which is helping us prepare for our conference games. When it comes to conference games, we just need to take care of business.”

On March 25, the Hilltoppers completed a three-game sweep against Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and outscored the Aggies 16-1 throughout the series with 20 innings of shutout softball.

Sophomore first baseman Brittney Bryson had one hit and run, as she celebrated a 5-0 and 3-0 shutout victories and her 20th birthday in front of the home crowd at Diane Daniels Field.

“I play softball on my birthday almost every year, and I trusted my team and I trusted we would win,” Bryson said.

The team’s season started Feb. 3 with multiple non-conference wins and losses on the road. Senior second baseman Alex Mayfield and senior centerfielder Breah Whitten are the only players who have been with the team for their entire careers.

“We’ve been focusing on taking it one pitch at a time, and that’s defense and offense,” Mayfield said. “I think we’re all starting to get more comfortable with each other and trusting each other a little more, and figuring out what we need to do to be successful.”

This season also brought a switch in the head coaching position, as Meghan Mullin replaced Lindsay Gardner. Mullin moved up from the SEU assistant coaching position she previously held for two seasons.

“Every coach tries to instill their own culture,” Mullins said. “There were some things we did really well last year, so we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. One thing I’ve tried to focus on is paying attention to little details.”

Bryson added she feels this season’s coaching staff seems more confident in the team, because the team feels more confident in themselves, while the familiarity of Mullins helps in the team’s improvements.

In the circle, senior pitcher Lauren Slatten continues to dominate for the Hilltoppers, as she garnered the team’s first conference honor of the season. Slatten was named the Heartland Pitcher of the Week on March 14.

Mullins says she is proud of the defensive progress her pitching staff has made, specifically highlighting the bullpen’s success against Oklahoma Panhandle State.

“I’m really happy with how the pitchers threw all weekend,” Mullin said. “We got to use all five of our pitchers, and all five of them competed very well. I’m also very happy with how the catchers called the games.”

St. Edward’s has an overall record of 12-21, and the team’s next home doubleheader is Friday against Lubbock Christian University.

Better ball-hitting and consistently scoring runs are things Mullins would like to see on offense. On defense, minimizing walks and errors, while remaining consistent on infield pressure are pivotal.

“We started off real hot, and then we realized we had a little bit to work on, and we’re coming back from it,” Bryson said. “I think we’re on our come-up and we’re going to do great for the rest of the season.”