The Muenster Lady Hornets softball team hasn’t made the playoffs in many years, but they are primed to do so this season.
Muenster is 6-1 in district play this season and coming off a 21-2 destruction of Alvord on Friday, April 2, after taking down the Lady Bulldogs 17-0 in the first meeting to start district.
Head coach Sydney Beuthien is in her second season at the helm, but the first season was truncated due to sports crashing to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that she has had a true offseason with her team, her main goal for the Lady Hornets has been to instill confidence in them and help them to believe they belong in the playoffs.
Against Alvord, Beuthien credited the Lady Hornets’ offense for stepping up.
“My girls were very patient at the plate, which leads us to big hits,” Beuthien said. “We’re not used to it yet. They’re good, but they don’t know they’re good, so I try to keep them very level-headed. We’re learning how to make adjustments off smart at-bats. I put them up against tough teams in offseason so that later on, they are ready. We’ve been working on pitch selection and understanding situations.”
Maggie Hess picked up the win for Muenster in the circle.
On the field and along the base paths, the Lady Hornets used smaller hits to move the runners along. Methodically, they marched players across home plate and picked up runs constantly.
Perhaps more importantly, the depth Lady Hornet players got opportunities to contribute, which Beuthien said was crucial due to a lack of enough players to field a JV team.
“Nobody smashed it, which is what I’m after right now because that’s ultimately is what is going to win a ball game,” Beuthien said. “We had some walks and my starters were able to get the lead up enough to where the subs were able to come in. Three of our subs got their first hits ever. Nobody in our district has JV. I’m losing six of my starters or my babies I call them this season. I need girls to fill their spots.”
Muenster is 15-4-1 on the season and in prime position to still battle it out for a district title. The Lady Hornets came up just a run short in a 6-5 loss to Lindsay on March 26.
Beuthien said she knows her team will be ready for the next matchup with the Lady Knights on April 20.
As for how the first half of district play has gone, Beuthien said her team is still growing yet it is also in position to threaten for the district crown.
“We had some trouble adjusting against Lindsay and we didn’t play our best against Collinsville the next game,” Beuthien said. “We played great against Tioga. Era showed up ready to go and when we have a good pitcher to face, our girls get a fire in their eyes and are ready to go to town. We could have done better against Lindsay and Collinsville for sure.”
The Lady Hornets will be focusing on cleaning up several facets of their game, from smarter pitching to more efficient at-bats, but also less errors defensively.
Muenster went 6-6 last season before the season abruptly ended, so there is still unfinished business to go this season.
Players can constantly be found in the batting cages at all times of the day knowing the opportunity that is ahead of them.
“Ultimately, we’re pushing for the playoffs and that’s what is going to make the difference in a playoff game,” Beuthien said. “They were extremely, extremely driven last year. We were waiting for district and they wanted it bad. This year, we’ve got a lot of good freshmen and great seniors. They are seeing how far they can go after getting a glimpse of it last year.
“This year, they know it and they feel it.”
Reach Patrick Hayslip at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter at @PatrickHayslip