The Marquette softball team is hitting on all cylinders so far in the young season.
The Mustangs are 7-0 heading into a game Tuesday, Aug. 29 with Parkway North. The 4:15 p.m. game is at Parkway North. The Vikings are off to a 1-4 start.
Coach Amy Doyle is pleased with the start of the season.
“Hopefully, we will continue to focus on the process of improving every day and will keep taking care of what we can control first,” Doyle said.
So far, so good.
The Mustangs recently won the 29th annual Parkway Invitational. Marquette learned a lot in the tourney that should prove beneficial during the remainder of the season.
Marquette won big. The Mustangs also had to rally to win and had to hold on to win a close one, too.
The expectations for the team heading into the tournament were to win it, Doyle said.
“Considering that we only graduated one starter from last year’s squad that finished the season 26-3, we had high expectations for the tournament,” Doyle said. “We knew that we if we focused on the process, that the result would come.
“There are always good teams in this tournament. This tournament is a great way to start the season because it allows you play a lot of games in a short period of time which allows us to begin the process of determining what we need to build upon going forward.”
Marquette opened against McCluer North and scored a 13-1 win. The Mustangs used an 8-run third inning to take command in the game.
“Our offensive lineup has grown stronger this season as we have a number of players who can hit for power,” Doyle said.
In the quarterfinals, Marquette earned a 2-1 win in eight innings over Parkway South.
“Parkway South is fielding a really strong team this season,” Doyle said. “As a team for us to come together when we needed to and put enough pressure to push some runs across the plate gave us valuable insight into our ability to deal with adversity. It was an exciting game to be a part of.”
The Patriots led 1-0. Marquette tied the game off of a pitch that got away and senior Alyssa Werner, who was on third base, came into score.
The winning run came in the eighth inning with bases loaded. Marquette took advantage of a throwing error to win the decisive run.
“Junior Chole Hendrikse sent a solid grounder to the pitcher, who threw it home to get the force and on the catcher’s throw to first, the ball got away from the first basemen, so junior Jenna Schatz, who was on second and had come around third, came in to score,” Doyle said.
In the semifinals, Marquette slipped past Fort Zumwalt West 10-8. Eileen McGinnis was the offensive leader with three hits including two doubles and a triple. She drove in four runs.
“Eileen has been a game-changer for us this season at the plate,” Doyle said. “She has been so consistent and I am really happy for her to see all of her hard work in the offseason paying off.”
Marquette jumped out by scoring eight runs in the first inning.
However, Fort Zumwalt West did not fold.
“They continued to put a few runs together in subsequent innings until they ended up tying up the score,” Doyle said. “We were able to utilize our short game and scratch two more runs across the plate to come away with the victory.”
The win provided the Mustangs with a valuable lesson, Doyle said.
“We learned that we can never sit back no matter what the score might be,” Doyle said.
There was no need for concern in the championship game. Marquette defeated Francis Howell North 11-0.
“Our players came out ready to hit and play defense,” Doyle said. “Annah (Junge) threw a great game and our defense played great behind her. The girls were really excited to win the tournament.”
It was Marquette’s first Parkway title since 2007.
Doyle was happy to get it.
“Sure, it’s always nice to set the tone of the season early,” Doyle said. “Our players have high expectations for the season and we need to continue to build on what we saw.”
It’s a busy week for the Mustangs. Marquette plays at Ursuline at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday and will host Mehlville at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.
Then Marquette has some time off before playing in the Suburban Showdown at Kirkwood. The tournament begins Sept. 5.