While the Truman State University softball team has been dominant in the batter’s box this season, it has also been dominant in the pitching circle.
The pitching trio of sophomore Lauren Dale, junior Nicolette Simpson and freshman Alyssa Hajduk have continued the Bulldog tradition of excellent pitching. For the last three seasons, the Truman pitchers have compiled ERAs of 1.43, 2.91 and 2.22. This year they have a 3.02 ERA and 10 shutouts as of Sunday — the Bulldogs rank eighth and third respectively in these categories among GLVC teams.
Head Coach Erin Brown says her three pitchers have been throwing to their strengths, keeping the team in position to deal with manageable deficits and regularly giving the Bulldogs a shot at winning each game. She says losing alumni Kelsea Dorsey and Kindra Henze —with their respective 2.44 and 1.93 ERAs — was tough, but bringing Hajduk and junior college transfer Simpson into the fold with returner Dale has restored the superb pitching from past seasons.
“You can’t ever replace people or their talents,” Brown says. “What you try to replace are the numbers they gave you.”
Brown says so far this season the trio has delivered because Simpson and Dale are in the top 25 GLVC pitchers with ERAs of 2.59 and 2.75. Brown says she knew both starters would be capable of this because Dale had a 2.53 ERA last season and Simpson came to Truman with experience pitching in national tournament games for Kirkwood Community College. As a newcomer, Hajduk is pacing the GLVC field with eight saves.
Brown says the pitching staff wants to deliver great movement while also hitting all of their spots set up by catchers senior Lex Van Nostrand and sophomore Sydney Scherzinger.
“The more consistent they can be hitting their location with movement is the best they can be,” Brown says.
Among the 10 shutouts the ‘Dogs have recorded this season, they had a five-game streak in early March. Dale started and finished two of those games against Wayne State University and Central Missouri University. Dale says every member of their pitching staff has the capability to endure a complete game outing.
“I’m confident if I have to come out of the game our pitchers will be fine throwing in my place,” Dale says.
The ‘Dogs are now coming off two series splits — one huge win over No. 5 Southern Indiana University and one win over Bellarmine University. Dale earned both wins and threw complete games in both matches. She has now won six straight starts and will get another chance this weekend as the ‘Dogs play double headers at Noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday against Saint Joseph College and University of Indianapolis on the home field.