Article Originally Published by Joshua Paveglio on North Texas Daily
Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily
With two weeks remaining of play for the North Texas softball team, (29-15, 14-4 Conference USA,) they have surpassed their overall total win from last season. Their win percentage in conference play has increased by 30 percent from the 2018 showcase, good enough to have the team tied for the best record in C-USA.
North Texas lost one conference series all season and four conference games in total. Despite this conference success, the Mean Green have gone 1-4 in their midweek games (Tuesday-Thursday). Head coach Rodney DeLong said he hasn’t been satisfied by the team’s performances during midweek.
“We definitely aren’t pleased with our struggles midweek,” DeLong said.
North Texas’ C-USA record compares to many teams in the conference, but when you look at overall records they trail the other conferences leaders. Louisiana Tech (36-12, 14-4 C-USA) is tied with the Mean Green for the conference lead, but have a five-game advantage when considering overall records. Western Kentucky (30-9, 12-3 C-USA) is first in the Eastern division and has a 3.5 game lead in overall records over North Texas.
Overall records do not play a factor into how the Mean Green will fair in the conference standings, but as the team becomes a favorite to win the regular season C-USA championship, further scrutiny of their struggles arise. Why can’t the team win midweek? Senior Harley Perella said she believes the team’s mentality going into midweek games is holding the Mean Green back.
“It’s more of a mental struggle we hit midweek,” Perella said. “It’s not the same as a weekend game where you have the day off. It’s definitely on us.”
Sophomore pitcher Hope Tratuwein also blamed some of the struggles during midweek games on their mindset going into the exhibitions.
“Midweek we just get caught up in life,” Trautwein said. “On the field we need to lock in on our game and check everything at the gate.”
Perella said she believes the solution to the team’s struggle for a good mentality in midweek games is simple, however.
“We just need to attack every game and be mentally there,” Perella said. “We need to be mentally sharp and on our game.”
Overall the teams they will face midweek have an average record of 24-18, which is somewhat inflated by Oklahoma’s 41-2 record. In the past, the midweek games have been winnable ones for the Mean Green.
Trautwein said the team should continue its process of improving every week heading into games.
“We need to continue the trend of getting better every week,” Trautwein said. “We just need to keep getting better and improving and making adjustments for every game.”
Two midweek games were canceled for the Mean Green this season, one against Abilene Christian, who North Texas already lost to 9-1 in a midweek game earlier this season.
As North Texas enters the final three-week stretch of the season, DeLong said he the team needs to be locked in every game as the teams in the conference will begin to separate in the final three weeks of the season.
“It’s that time of year,” DeLong said. “Your top teams separate, and your bottom teams usually bottom out here. Hopefully, our mentality is that we want to do something special. We’ve got a real opportunity to have the best record ever here, to go to the postseason for the first time ever here. Every game from here on out is what we need to focus on.”
Perella agreed with DeLong — the Mean Green need to be locked in for every game entering this final stretch but she hopes they’ll fair fine in conference.
“Every game is super important,” Perella said. “Our fate is in our own control, we should be good.”
North Texas will be playing its final midweek game against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (33-11, 10-2 Big 12) on April 24 at Lovelace Stadium at 6 p.m.
North Texas has two conference matchups left against Middle Tennessee (25-18, 9-5 C-USA) and Alabama-Birmingham (15-27, 5-12 C-USA). DeLong is hoping the team will get going in this final stretch.
“We need to be taking care of business, we’ve got to get rolling these last three series so hopefully we come to play,” DeLong said.
Featured Image: Junior Hope Trautwein pitches in the game against Texas-El Paso at Lovelace Stadium on March 17, 2019. Image by: Jordan Collard
Source: North Texas Daily