Offensive success comes from coaching philosophy, buying in


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katin

Iowa infielder Mallory Kilian waits to field the ball during women’s softball Iowa vs. Drake at Bob Pearl Field on March 28, 2018. The Bulldogs defeated the Hawkeyes 3-1. (Katina Zentz/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa softball has been trying to restart its offense in the past week and not without some help from its hot-streaking leadoff hitter.

Junior Mallory Kilian collected her team-leading fifth home run on March 31 to go along with a slash line of .341/.450/.591. Her 18 runs scored also lead the Hawkeyes.

The coaching staff has been preaching all season about attacking good pitches from inside the box, and the key to Kilian’s success has been just that.

“One, she’s bought into kind of the philosophy of attacking good pitches,” head coach Marla Looper said. “Not being over selective, knowing what she can swing at and swing at well and make contact with versus what’s really not a good pitch for her to hit.”

For the starting first baseman, her success has come through the mentality.

“I think just up to bat, I’m confident, and I’m relaxed and seeing the ball well,” Kilian said.

So far, Iowa has seen a mix between ranked and unranked opponents, and along with that comes a mix of pitching styles.

What is key for offensive success — and what will be key for the Hawkeyes to get back on track — is making in-game adjustments to the approach.

“I think [Kilian’s] made some box adjustments — either back of the box, front of the box — which allows you to see the ball a little differently or catch it before the break or after a break,” Looper said.

RELATED: Softball needs quick adjustments

Over the weekend, Iowa was swept by unranked Big Ten opponent Maryland.

Iowa’s midweek matchup with Northern Iowa, scheduled for Wednesday, could have been the matchup to prove that the offense is there. However, the game was postponed due to impending cold weather. Friday’s series-opener against Wisconsin will now take place as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, with the finale still scheduled for April 8.

Coming off a winless weekend, those adjustments will have to be implemented throughout the lineup for Iowa to be back above .500.

“We’ve struggled a little bit on a certain type of pitching, so I think that’s what we kind of saw with our outcomes this past weekend,” Kilian said. “It was a lot of the same type of pitching, and we just didn’t make the adjustments quick enough.”

Kilian isn’t the only Hawkeye having recent success. Following her in the lineup are seniors Allie Wood and Sarah Kurtz and freshman Aralee Bogar, who have all played in 30 or more games with a batting average above .200.

Kilian can set an example for those looking to step up and fill a role on the team by her work ethic. Using a competitive and a team-building standpoint, getting everyone on the same page will be key.

“[It’s] all buying into the process of being a better hitter, giving yourself more chances, and I think ultimately that commitment level that [Kilian] has has allowed her to then excel based on experience and opportunities and repetition,” Looper said.

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Anna Kayser, Sports Editor/Assistant Pregame Editor

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Anna Kayser is the Sports Editor and Assistant Pregame Editor at The Daily Iowan. She began her college career as a news...