Lady Lions softball reemerges 3-2 after halted season

Junior+infielder%2Fpitcher+Briahna+Bennett+prepares+to+swing+in+Thursday+night%27s+game+against+South+Dakota.+The+Lady+Lions%27+season+opener+concluded+with+a+11-0+victory+against+the+Coyotes.

Symiah Dorsey

Junior infielder/pitcher Briahna Bennett prepares to swing in Thursday night’s game against South Dakota. The Lady Lions’ season opener concluded with a 11-0 victory against the Coyotes.

Skills were put to the test this week as the Lady Lions softball team reemerged for its 2021 season under less than ideal weather conditions.

The team battled through cold climates and heavy rains in the season-opening Lion Classic on Feb. 11-14, concluding the tournament with three victories and two losses. Due to the inclement weather, the Classic took place on the all-turf field at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. 

Game one, the Lady Lions’ first game in 336 days after a halted season in 2020, finished with a 11-0 win against South Dakota. Senior pitcher Heather Zumo chased away the Coyotes as she threw the seventh no-hitter in the program’s history.  

Not letting the interruption of last season get in the way, head softball coach Rick Fremin stayed focused on the task at hand.

“When it gets to the weather and us playing in the rain, that other stuff goes out the window. They’re trying to overcome so much of just staying warm and trying to focus, handle the ball and keep their hands warm, have kinesthetic feel in their fingers, especially with the pitchers trying to throw strikes. I think it’s extremely hard, but do I think they’re glad to be back on the field? Absolutely, no question,” Fremin said.

On day two, the Lady Lions returned to action in a doubleheader against South Dakota. Game two ended in a 14-9 triumph for SLU after the team saved itself with a seven-run sixth inning. In game three, the Lady Lions fought to catch up to the Coyotes, tying the score in the bottom of the sixth inning and ultimately taking the lead in the seventh, 17-15.

Day three of the Lion Classic ended up being a night of shortcomings for the Lady Lions. South Dakota finally broke the team’s winning streak in game four with a 9-3 lead. Concluding 6-2, SLU took another loss in their fifth and final game against North Texas.

Fremin gave his thoughts on the team’s performance throughout the opening Classic.

“The first three games, we did what he had to do offensively to come back in two of those games with monster deficits. Then today, you’re playing a team for the fourth timeit’s hard to beat anybody four timesand we did not play well. I just tried to motivate the group and let them know they would be facing one of the best pitchers in the nation there for North Texas. We just need to make the adjustments that will help us down the line,” Fremin said.

Once a few veteran players return from the injured list and the team has more preparation, Fremin believes the team will be in good shape to reach their goal for the season.

“Biggest goal is to win the Conference tournament,” he said. “We have a schedule that will prepare us for that. It’s going to take a while for this team to gel, but we have good leadership—we have nine seniors, and we just have to get some people back healthy because we have quite a few veterans out right now that are normally out here contributing.”

Next on their schedule, the Lady Lions will travel to Starkville, Miss. for a 4 p.m. contest against Mississippi State.