By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against league-leading Angelo State, the softball team couldn’t get anything going. Hitters were getting ahold of the ball, but potential hits seemed to go directly to the gloves of ASU defenders.
Thus was the theme of the Wildcats’ season, capped off with a four-game sweep the Rambelles handed them on their home field to close out the year.
“That’s the way the season has gone for us,” junior infielder J.D. Williams said. “We would always be in games, but the ball just wouldn’t roll our way.”
ACU, a team that had no seniors and was picked to finish dead last in the Lone Star Conference South, instead tied for fourth and came just a few wins away from making the Post-Season Tournament. In an April 11-12 series with Texas Woman’s, the Cats needed to take three games from the third-place Pioneers to grab their spot and have a good shot at making the playoffs. ACU won just one game in the series, and went on to drop its last seven games.
“It was a rough season in that respect,” Williams said. “We felt like we always had a chance to make the postseason, but we could never just do it. That stressed a lot of us out.”
But the players tried to keep their heads up and understand that they were growing.
“It’s hard not to think about the negative parts of the year,” sophomore right fielder and team captain Katie Bryan said. “We didn’t have the outcome we wanted, but even after our last loss, we were thinking about how much we’ve learned and how good we’ll be next year.”
The Wildcats will have to do that without the help of standout junior shortstop Robin Woodall, who is leaving the team. Her bat was one of the biggest highlights of ACU’s season.
In her last game in a Wildcat uniform, Woodall jacked two home runs to give her 10 on the season, an ACU single-season record. She also holds the record for most career homers, and her 46 RBI this season ties her for the single-season lead with Leanne Mahan (1997). Woodall batted .363 on the season.
Bryan, who also had a stellar season with a .369 average, seven home runs and 37 RBI, said she and other teammates will be working hard in the offseason to prepare for next year.
“I’m gonna be hitting, running and lifting,” she said. “We want next year’s team to take it to the next level and play at the top of our game every game.”
And thus hopefully improve on their 24-31 2003.
“I just hope we do better,” Williams said. “I’m sick and tired of losing.”