Hawkeyes learn from early mistakes, get better

The last two weeks have been for training mode for the Hawkeyes, something they can use to work through early season kinks.

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Hawkeyes learn from early mistakes, get better

Aralee Bogar swings at incoming softball at the Pearl Field Hawkeye Softball complex on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

Aralee Bogar swings at incoming softball at the Pearl Field Hawkeye Softball complex on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

Aralee Bogar swings at incoming softball at the Pearl Field Hawkeye Softball complex on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

Aralee Bogar swings at incoming softball at the Pearl Field Hawkeye Softball complex on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

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RELATED: Softball shows it’s up for the challenge

After two-consecutive weekends of competitive play, the Iowa softball team had two weeks to train on the big lessons from the start of the season.

The Hawkeyes’ last tournament was the Texas A&M Invitational, in which they went 3-2 and suffered a tough loss to the Aggies.

The final game of the weekend came on Feb. 18 — Iowa’s offense exploded for an 11-3 win against Tulsa.

A key after two weeks of training will be keeping that offense going. In Texas, three Hawkeyes hit above .400. For a team that has been plagued by lulls in offensive efforts, keeping the bats hot will be important in changing the outcomes from previous seasons.

Infielder Aralee Bogar has made a substantial impact in her freshman year in the Black and Gold. At the Texas A&M Invitational, she collected 6 hits for a .353 batting average, and on the season, she has 7 stolen bases in nine games, good for No. 21 in the nation.

In the circle, the pitching performances improved from the first week to the second. In Texas, sophomore Allison Doocy, freshman Lauren Shaw, and junior Erin Riding all threw complete games.

Doocy, one of the Hawkeyes’ main starters in the beginning weeks of the season, allowed only 2 hits against Tulsa to open up the last tournament. She followed that up with a battle against ranked Texas A&M, getting the loss on a walk-off home run.

A big part of the Iowa team is the players having each others’ backs no matter what. With the pitchers working hard in the circle, that puts pressure on the offense to back them up.

“We are working hard behind them, but they’re working just as hard,” Bogar said. “With them being so great, you want to put up as many runs as you can because they’re doing such a great job.”

Another big takeaway from the A&M Tournament was the energy throughout the entire team that led to a close game against the No. 6/8 Aggies. The result of that game boosted the confidence level on the team, and it showed that they have what it takes to be a good ball club this season.

“If we can almost beat A&M, who is No. 6 in the country, we can beat anybody,” Riding said.

As for the close games, it will be important to keep getting better on the field in practice and in games.

Once Iowa can close out those tough games, the confidence will fully be there to compete with everyone.

“Those [close] games are going to be in our hands at times, and every time we’ve stepped on the field so far, we’ve gotten better,” head coach Marla Looper said.

The loss to A&M came on a passed ball that scored the tying run. The Hawkeye defense has been plagued with errors all season long, making that the point of emphasis in practice.

If the defense can become more stable, combined with continued success in the box and the circle, Iowa could be a force to be reckoned with.