Offense drives softball out to hot start

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Sophomore utility player Sierra Lange runs out of the batter's box during a game against Howard Tuesday.

Softball is having its best start in program history behind strong numbers at the plate.

The Colonials (13-3) have tallied 160 hits and 97 runs – up 36 and 19, respectively, from last season’s marks through 16 games. At this time last season, the Colonials were 9-7, and this season’s record so far marks the winningest start for any GW team this year.

GW is currently sixth in the nation with a team batting average of .356, and among Atlantic 10 competition, a Colonial tops every single statistical category.

Last season, the Colonials became the winningest squad in program history, tallying 33 wins while owning a nationally-ranked offense. But even after putting record-setting numbers, first-year head coach Shane Winkler said his team wasn’t satisfied with last season’s performance.

“When I got here, the team felt like they underachieved last year,” Winkler said. “So it’s been nice to see them buying in and believing they’re capable of more.”

Earlier in the season Winkler said he would be emphasizing a more aggressive approach to the plate for the Colonials, who currently have seven members of the team batting .300 or above and have a team slugging percentage of .492.

“We’re trying to hit balls over the fence, we’re trying to play small ball, we want an aggressive style of play in everything we do,” Winkler said. “Every swing we take, we want it to be aggressive.”

At the plate, the Colonials are led by sophomore utility player Sierra Lange, who is batting .500 and has connected on a team-high 26 hits. Her batting average ranks her among the top-25 hitters in the nation.

Junior utility player Jessica Linquist follows closely behind with a .455 batting average and a .864 slugging percentage. The Colonials’ nine best hitters average .312 as a group.

Linquist, who leads the Colonials with three home runs and 17 runs batted in, said the team is more confident in the batter’s box than they were last season. Instead of bringing nerves up to the plate, the team is more excited for every at-bat.

“I feel a lot more confident than I did last year, especially coming back off an injury,” Linquist said. “I really didn’t have anything to lose, so every time I get out there, trying to be a little bit aggressive and go after strikes.”

The team’s hitting numbers put the Colonials among the best in the nation, but Winkler said they have still not reached their full potential in the batter’s box.

“We’ve got a couple hitters that picked up last year that aren’t hitting yet and we know they will,” Winkler said. “We just want them to continue to be dangerous one through nine.”

With the majority of their season still ahead of them, the Colonials are just 10 games away from A-10 play. Winkler said he will be continuing to give players chances to improve at the plate.

“We know we have a really deep, deep bench of 18 and at any given moment we have 12 different players potentially that can step up,” Winkler said. “That’s not what a lot of teams have, so we’ll just hope to keep taking advantage of that.”

The Colonials return to action noon Friday to host Canisius in the first day of the Colonial Classic.

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