Iowa softball facing stretch of 10 games in seven days

The Hawkeyes will wrap up their nonconference schedule with a game against the Oklahoma Sooners on March 20.


Casey Stone

The Iowa Hawkeyes get ready for their game before the Iowa Softball senior game against Illinois on May 16, 2021 at Bob Pearl Field. Iowa defeated Illinois 4-3.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa softball’s early season schedule just went from a jog to a sprint. Thanks to a snowstorm that was expected to hit Lawrence, Kansas, late this week, Iowa’s three-game appearance in the Jayhawk Classic was moved back a few days.

As a result, the Hawkeyes will now play 10 games in seven days.

Iowa will start its 10-game journey in Lawrence with games against Missouri State, Kansas, and Wichita State on Sunday and Monday. Then, the Hawkeyes will play a doubleheader against UMKC and Southeast Missouri in Kansas City on Tuesday.

Iowa was also supposed to play Saint Louis on Wednesday. But that game was canceled, decreasing the Hawkeyes’ seven-day load of games from 11 to 10.

With the Saint Louis game canceled, Iowa will get a one-day break on Wednesday. Then, the Hawkeyes will head to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Classic in Oklahoma City. Iowa will play Houston, San Diego, Sam Houston State, Indiana, and Oklahoma from March 18-20.

Oklahoma is currently ranked third in the NCAA Division I Women’s Softball Ratings Power Index. The undefeated Sooners topped USA Today’s top 25 poll on Feb. 22.

“I’m so excited,” Iowa junior Sophia Maras said. “Oklahoma is the one that has all the pressure. So, we have nothing to lose heading into that game.”

Maras is one of a few new faces that have played well in the Black and Gold this season. Maras transferred to Iowa from Des Moines Area Community College. She now leads the Hawkeyes with a .452 batting average.

Maras started the season 3-of-12 from the plate. In her last seven games, she’s gone 11-of-19.

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Maras said her success can be attributed to the encouragement her teammates have given her. Even as a newcomer, Maras feels at home with her fellow Hawkeyes.

“Every time we get a chance to go out together, we get closer and closer,” Maras said. “Staying in the hotel and driving on the bus has all helped us come together.”

Like Maras, Amber DeSana is also seeing a resurgence. DeSana has registered at least one hit in each of her last four games. She’s recorded two doubles in the past three games.

Against Butler, DeSana racked up a double and a run, going 2-of-3 from the batter’s box.

DeSana told The Daily Iowan that she’s been taking extra reps in practice to perform better in games.

While Iowa does have a lot of options in its batting order, it lacks depth on the mound.

Sophomore Denali Loecker and Breanna Vasquez have solidified themselves as Iowa’s top two starters, earning 15 combined starts. The Hawkeyes have yet to pin down a legitimate third starter.

With a stretch of 10 games in seven days coming up, Iowa will likely need some fresh arms. True freshman Devyn Greer could be the Hawkeyes No. 3 starter this year. She’s racked up one start and five relief appearances in nine career games.

Greer has been an effective closer, allowing just one hit in her last four games. Greer has yet to prove that she can pitch for an extended period of time, as she has never hurled more than 3.1 innings in a single game for the Hawkeyes.