Tatiem Bender, who leads the team in steals with a total of four on the season, loads up to swing at an incoming ball during the first game against University of Nebraska Kearney on April 9.

Bronco Softball look to finish off season strong

The Hastings College softball team has had their share of ups and downs so far this season. The Broncos have an overall record of 10-16, and they are 2-6 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).

“We have had an up and down season so far, because you try to get the freshmen to really understand the game, learn the game and things like that, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. Am I disappointed? No, because I can see the future looks pretty good, and hopefully we can finish strong down the stretch,” said Head Coach Troy Baker.

The spotlight for the team has been on their young talent, with six first-year students who receive considerable playing time. Over half of the Broncos starters are first-year students. With that comes inexperience and a lot of pressure on the upperclassmen to do well.

“All the young girls feel a little bit of pressure to help carry the season, because there are seven freshmen, and just the same amount as the older girls,” said First-year infielder Tatiem Bender. “Baker made it pretty clear that all the freshmen have an opportunity to make an impact, and we didn’t think it was going to happen the way it did.”

After not making the GPAC postseason tournament for the first time in the past 12 years, the Broncos set the goal at the beginning of the year to get back into the GPAC postseason tournament.

“We wanted to go out and have fun, because obviously going off our injuries last year, we just wanted to have a good season,” said Junior infielder Alyssa Carter. “Whether it be this year or next year, get into the GPAC tournament with the players we have now, because we are more than capable of doing it.”

The Broncos are still led by their upperclassmen when it comes to hitting and pitching. Carter leads the team in hitting with a batting average of .360, along with 32 hits and 16 RBI. Carter also ranks sixth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for at-bats per game, averaging 3.7 per contest. HC’s pitching is led by Senior Josie Bumgardner, who has a 5.08 ERA along with 56 strikeouts, averaging 7.69 strikeouts per game.

Hastings is in the heart of their season, with 16 games left on the schedule. The Broncos will round off regular season action against Briar Cliff University on April 27, with the first pitch set at 1 p.m.