Iowa softball set to tackle small details during Drake road trip

Fresh off of an offensively productive weekend, Iowa softball takes on the high-scoring Drake Bulldogs tonight in Des Moines.

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Iowa softball set to tackle small details during Drake road trip

Iowa utility Aralee Bogar watches a pitch during the first game in a double header against Illinois on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Bogar got a walk to first. The Hawkeyes fell to the Illinis 12-11 but came back to win the second game.

Iowa utility Aralee Bogar watches a pitch during the first game in a double header against Illinois on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Bogar got a walk to first. The Hawkeyes fell to the Illinis 12-11 but came back to win the second game.

Jenna Galligan

Iowa utility Aralee Bogar watches a pitch during the first game in a double header against Illinois on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Bogar got a walk to first. The Hawkeyes fell to the Illinis 12-11 but came back to win the second game.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Iowa utility Aralee Bogar watches a pitch during the first game in a double header against Illinois on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Bogar got a walk to first. The Hawkeyes fell to the Illinis 12-11 but came back to win the second game.

Pete Mills, Assistant Sports Editor

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Iowa softball head coach Renee Gillispie told her team that the minute details were keeping it down during its 11-game losing streak leading up to the games against Illinois on April 13 at Pearl Field.

The small details also helped the team harness its first win since March 23. With an away game against Drake tonight, the team hopes to keep that focus on the small things to create a second-straight win.

“We talked about how we need to get all on one page and feel each other,” said sophomore Aralee Bogar, who launched a double to score 2 runs and tie the April 13 game in the seventh inning. “I think we just took that out. We were encouraging each other in this game, being selfless, and I think that showed.”

RELATED: Hawkeye softball revitalizes offense against Illini

The team finally broke through that streak with a win against Illinois on April 13, taking down the Illini, 4-3. The biggest story of the day was Iowa’s offense: The doubleheader featured 15 Iowa runs on the board, more than in the team’s previous 12 games combined.

“We all came together before [those] two games,” junior outfielder Havyn Monteer said. “We knew how to do it, we knew it was going to fall, we just needed it to come together … I think confidence and keeping the bats rolling will keep it going for us.”

For the weeks during the losing streak, Gillispie kept iterating that the team’s failure lay in the details. Errors and poor relays were common. When those things occur, she repeated, it negatively affects all facets of a team’s performance.

“Offensively, it was great to see them come together,” she said. “They were fighting to put the ball in play, moving the runners, and doing the little things right.”

It’s a good time, too, because the Hawkeyes will have to score a ton to beat Drake. The Bulldogs have been very efficient at the plate, scoring better than 8 runs in seven of their last 10 games. Macy Johnson leads the team offensively, posting a .389 average with 42 hits and 21 RBIs. The Bulldogs are on a 15-game winning streak.

But the Hawkeyes’ biggest batters — who had been quiet for much of the last several weeks — rose in the Illinois series in dominant fashion.

DoniRae Mayhew, who is batting .304, had one of her best outings of the season in the first game on April 13. The junior transfer went 4-for-4, scoring 3 runs and putting in an additional 2 RBIs.

“The girls came out, and they were working so hard today in batting practice and focusing on doing the little things, small adjustments,” Gillispie said. “Doni’s adjustment was looking for her pitch, being able to stay a little bit taller and a little bit stronger, watching for the rise ball.”

Because of the weather, the game will take place at 5 p.m. at Buel Field in Des Moines, an hour earlier than its previously scheduled start.

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