The Howard University women’s softball team went 1-2 against the Norfolk State Spartans (11-12) in their first three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) games this season.
The Bison took the first game on March 18 with a 7-4 victory behind three runs from sophomore infielder Lealani Ricks. The Spartans responded with dominating wins of 9-1 and 11-3 on March 18 and 19 respectively. Norfolk State controlled both games with their ability to get on base consistently. They had a 15-3 advantage in hits in their first win and 9-2 in the second win. Spartans redshirt junior outfielder Yrral Davis had arguably her best two-game stretch of the season in these victories, totaling two runs, four hits and three runs batted in.
The Bison dropped their record to 8-15, ranking third in overall MEAC standings. Coach Tori Tyson says the team is still finding its identity after their MEAC championship last season.
“Although we dropped the series, I feel like it highlights a lot of my message about the importance of finding our identity after the championship,” Tyson said.
The newest additions will take time to develop and mold as a team. The team still has to adjust since the loss of a few players from last season, including 2022 MEAC Tournament Outstanding Performer Analise De La Roca.
“We are a team that predominantly consists of freshmen and sophomores,” Tyson said. “So we are still going through the normal growing pains of young athletes finding their identity, especially who will be the voice that gets us back center. We lost all our pitching in the circle, specifically Analise De La Roca, so we are dealing with a young pitching staff managing their first starts in the conference.”
However, Tyson expressed that these losses are normal occurrences within a given season and aren’t cause for concern.
“You have to stay peaceful during the journey of a season,” Tyson said. “We have a scrappy Coppin State team this weekend, so I’m excited to see how this young squad responds. A good sign was seeing them all putting in work the day after the Norfolk loss.”
After traveling to Coppin State University (3-12), Howard will host seven consecutive home games. Home field is crucial for them this season, as evidenced by their 5-0 record playing at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy. Tyson is confident the Bison will find their footing as the season progresses, saying, “I have no doubt we will be playing our best softball by May. Historically, we always have.”
Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett