Eagles welcome in Luverne

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It’s been an up and down sort of season for Amy Warrick’s Goshen Eagles. After struggling out of the gates the Eagles battled back to claim the regular season area championship.

They host the area championship beginning this afternoon.

“We are thrilled to host it again at our field,” Warrick said. “I am happy and thrilled for they girls. We seemed to be playing really good ball here at the end.”

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The Eagles lost a lot of their seniors from 2016. That transition has led to some growing pains as players learned new positions to fill the void of departing players.

“We had some girls in new positions that had to learn,” Warrick said. “We have gotten a lot better. We still have our moments, but as far as growing mentally as a team, we have done that. That is probably the biggest improvement that we have made. They always had the ability they just had to learn their position and not to rush things.”

The Eagles found themselves pressing early in the season. Warrick said too many times she noticed her players trying too hard to make things happen. When things got bad the players get down on themselves, forcing Warrick to come up with a plan.

“I had to take some ideas from Auburn softball in quality at-bats,” Warrick said. “They get upset about disappointing me with their batting average. We had to go to something else to measure them by. If they hit the ball hard, but didn’t get on base, that is still a good job.

“When we switched over to that we seemed to be not so hard on ourselves. They want to play so hard, but they were pushing too hard. We started to see a lot of growth in them.”

The Eagles have relied on pitchers in Hannah Calhoun and Sydni Garrett to get big outs and log important innings.

“I am very proud of both of them,” Warrick said. “They have really come on and have tried to be coachable lately. They seem to have a focus on really hitting their spots.”

The defense playing behind the two pitchers has responded.

“The defense has stepped it up by trying not to make any errors behind them,” Warrick said.

At the plate, Warrick has been impressed with what she has seen up and down the lineup. Even with a top-heavy lineup that features Calhoun, Kate Warrick and Kelsey Gibson, the Eagles have gotten strong play from players near the bottom of the lineup in Brooke Bennett, Lydia Harrison and Megan Tillery.

“In our last tournament we generated six runs against New Brockton,” Warrick said. “We have generated a lot of runs. The girls are finally starting to hit and they realize when they have runners on base they need to try and score those runners.”

The Eagles will begin play at 1 p.m. this afternoon against Luverne in a best two-out-three tournament to decide the area championship.