The Crusader softball team kicked off their season this past weekend with two doubleheaders at home against the Builders of Southwestern College on Friday and the Hendrix College Warriors on Sunday.
The Crusader softball team has a lot of new faces this year, with ten freshman on the roster and a new coach, Caitlynn Dykes, who made her head coaching debut this weekend.
On Friday, at the end of the first two innings, the teams were locked in a 0-0 tie. The Builders jumped out to a five-run lead by the top of the 4th inning, scoring three runs in the 3rd and two in the 4th. In the bottom of the 4th, the Crusaders got on the board when sophomore Julia Duenas crossed the plate for the Crusaders first run. Dallas quickly followed with five more runs to close out the inning with a 6-5 lead. The Builders tied the game in the top of the 6th inning, but UD answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. With freshman Paige Rasmussen still pitching in the 7th, the game ended with a 7-6 Crusader win.
Freshman Karina Compo was the starting pitcher for the second game on Friday and had an excellent outing both in the circle and at the plate. Campo pitched six innings, allowing just two unearned runs and three strikeouts and hit the team’s first homerun of the season, along with three RBIs. The second game started much like the first game, with a scoreless tie at the end of the 2nd inning. At the bottom of the 4th inning, the Crusaders were behind once again. Down 2-0, the Crusaders came to life at the plate beginning with Compo’s three-run homerun. The homerun was followed shortly after by sophomore Caitlyn Stevenson’s triple to the center field fence that scored two additional runs. The Crusaders ended the game with three more runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, invoking the eight-run rule and closing out the doubleheader with a 10-2 victory.
On Sunday, Hendrix College came to UD for another doubleheader. The first game ended in five innings with Hendrix College run-ruling the Crusaders 10-1. During the second game, neither team scored until the third inning, much like the Friday game. This time the Crusaders were the first to score, however, when sophomore Liz Cordova’s RBI double knocked in freshman Bri Torres for a 1-0 Dallas lead. Hendrix scored two runs in the 5th inning, but the Crusaders recovered with a run in the 6th. The game went into extra innings tied 2-2. In the bottom of the 8th inning, pinch runner Emily Martin reached home on an error, giving the Crusaders the win over Hendrix 3-2.
“The team dynamic was good, and there was a lot of energy on the field,” Cordova said. “We were all disappointed [with Sunday’s loss], but coach came off in a way that really spoke to the team that she knows we are able to bring together, which got us fired up.”
As the Crusaders’ season has begun, the young team has done well overcoming beginning of season obstacles with the help of Coach Dykes.
“I’ve said before that this season we have the talent and capability to shake some things up within our conference,” Dykes said. “If our team can play like they did majority of this weekend, there is no question that we are going to have a successful season in and out of conference.”
The Crusaders ended opening weekend with a 3-1 record, scoring 21 runs over the four game stint. Dallas continues their season next week with two doubleheaders on the road against Huntingdon College (AL) and the College of Mount St. Joseph (OH) on Saturday and Sunday Feb. 23 and 24.