Jackets focus on mentality for Grove City College series

The Waynesburg University softball team will continue Presidents’ Athletic Conference play when it heads to Grove City to take on the Wolverines later today.

Going into the game, head coach Brett Shimek will have a few days to prepare as the team has had a few days off.

“We have to be mentally focused to play, we have three days until we compete, we are not playing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” Shimek said. “We will be practicing outside making sure the team is focused and get our bats going.”

Shimek believes having the three days off will benefit the team by giving the team rest.

“We played a lot of games early on including eight games over three days,” said Shimek. “Now we can get back and rest up and continue where we left off splitting the second game against Westminster College.”

Junior catcher and outfielder Rachel Skon also believes that the next couple of off days will be important to the team.

“Having the multiple games off gives or bodies time to rest,” said Skon. “Now that we have those days we are back to the field and practicing hard to prepare for the upcoming games.”

For the team to have success, Shimek’s strategy always remains the same.

“You have to score early and first but that is always the strategy,” said Shimek. “My strategy has always been pitching and defense, if you do both well, we are always going to have an opportunity to win.”

After the last game, Shimek believes the team still has stuff work on.

“We had a few base running mistakes but that starts with me and coaching making sure the signs are picked up and understood,” said Shimek. “There were also a few plays we could have made defensively by getting a better jump, or drop stepping to change the outcome on some of the games.”

Being consistent with hitting is what Skon believes the team needs to work on going into the next game against the Wolverines.

“I think we need to be more consistent with our hitting,” said Skon. “Once we find our consistency, we will be unstoppable and be hard to beat in the PAC.”

Shimek compares the Wolverines to the Yellow Jackets and believes that the games will be competitive.

“They look like a solid team and similar to us,” said Shimek. “Their batting average is within four points of ours and the ERA is also similar.”

Shimek plans to start sophomore pitcher Emma Kubalak and then go to senior pitcher Courtney Messenger. Kubalak and Messenger are the two primary pitchers on the team she Shimek has high praise for the duo but is also a challenge only having two pitchers.

“Both pitchers have been throwing very well this season and we have total confidence in them,” said Shimek. “In an ideal world you would have three or four pitchers, but we have been working around that all year and both pitchers have been holding their own.”

On the season, Kubalak has an ERA of 5.49 and Messenger leads the team with a 1.71 ERA.

The Yellow Jackets are second in the PAC currently (5-13, 1-1) and the Wolverines (6-5, 0-0) are ranked fourth in the PAC. First pitch of the double header is set for 3:30 p.m.