Iowa softball ready for first home series in two years

The Hawkeyes will kick off their first home series of the 2020-21 season at Pearl Field on Friday against Indiana.


Emily Wangen

Pitcher Allison Doocy warms up during the Iowa softball fall opener against Des Moines Area Community College. The Hawkeyes beat the Bears 4-1 in 10 innings.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

It’s been 698 days since Iowa softball last played a game at Bob Pearl Field.

On Friday, that streak will be discontinued, as Iowa softball hits the diamond for its first home series of the 2020-21 season.

The Hawkeyes began this year’s campaign with two weekend series in Leesburg, Florida, and a road trip to West Lafayette, Indiana. When all the travel wrapped up, Iowa sat at 10-6 overall.

Now, the Hawkeyes are finally home.

“I’m really excited, it’s been two years since we’ve been out here,” senior right-handed pitcher Allison Doocy said. “Something definitely that you can’t take for granted, being in front of your home crowd. There’s a sense of comfortability when you’re here, so I’m excited to play, have our own schedule, have our own routine, and be on our field.”

The Hawkeyes’ first home game of the season comes just days after Iowa Athletics announced that it would allow fans to attend its outdoor events at up to 50 percent capacity. And after two years away, the Hawkeyes are ready to take the field at home and feel some sense of normalcy.

RELATED: Iowa softball’s Sarah Lehman impresses in return to mound

“698 days since we’ve been on home field,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “We had this field actually re-done, the infield re-done last year, but never got a chance to play on it. So, we’re very pumped about being back home, and getting in a home crowd, and getting the excitement of the Hawkeyes on the field together. It’s going to really be something for the girls, and for us coaches. We’ve just been biting at the bit for 600-plus days to get back on the field. We’re just really excited to have our fans back out here on the field to support us.”

Before the 2020 season was prematurely terminated because of COVID-19, Iowa had racked up 17 wins and suffered just five losses. After stumbling a bit out of the gate in 2021, the Hawkeyes have recently found their footing, winning four of their last five contests.

This season, the stakes seem to be higher than they ever have been for Iowa. Because of COVID-19, the Hawkeyes are playing a conference-only schedule in 2020-21, so every game counts toward the final league standings.

“I think all the credit goes to the girls working as hard as they are in the offseason,” Gillispie said. “It’s not easy when the pandemic is going on, and you don’t have a place to go play and practice … being conference-only, it’s tough. Every single game that we’re facing, it means something, it means a championship, so you can’t take a day off. And they’ve worked so hard in the offseason to continue to get to the point they are now.”

Iowa kicks off its four-game home series against 7-9 Indiana on Friday at 3 p.m. The opening tilt will be followed by a Saturday doubleheader and Sunday afternoon finale.

Friday and Saturday’s games will be streamed on BTN+. Sunday’s game will air on the Big Ten Network.

Facebook Comments