Softball team off to winning start under new head coach

The PNW softball team swept Midway College 14-5 and 14-2 on March 4.

The team holds a 4-2 overall record for the 2016-17 season under new head coach Ritchie Richardson.

Richardson said he believes this is a successful start to the beginning of a newly formed team.

“In twenty seasons, you sort of develop a way you want things done. And it’s been really successful over the last twenty years,” Richardson said.

Richardson worked for the university of Olivet-Nazarene for twenty years as head coach before coming to PNW.

The softball team is led by eight seniors.

Haley Loden, senior outfielder, said her expectations for the season are to achieve a good record and place in the top of the conference.

Loden said Richardson has differing coaching methods from previous coaches but that his experience with softball has shown during the team’s practices.

Alex Morales, junior center fielder, said the team has to stick together when they lose.

“We just gotta keep our heads up, have each other’s backs and be good teammates,” Morales said.

Coach Richardson enlisted Travis Hill, a student-athlete he met at Olivet-Nazarene, as his assistant coach.

Hill said the team is planning on using their strong defense to keep them close in games.

“We’ll really count on the first five hitters to get us early runs and the bottom half of the order to come in clutch when we need them too,” Hill said. “We just need to play smart.”

Audrey Headley, senior first basemen, said practices will be focused on improving what the team struggles with during games.

“All of us have one goal: to win. And I think that’s a great goal to have, especially when starting with a new team,” Headley said.

The conference season begins on March 25 with a doubleheader against St. Ambrose starting at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Dowling Park.