Omaha softball hits start of season out of the park

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Jack Hoover
SPORTS EDITOR 

The Mavericks last season huddled around head coach Amanda Eberhart. Photo courtesy of Omavs.com

Last season was far from the greatest year that Omaha softball has ever had.

The team approached the 2019 year with new head coach Amanda Eberhart, who was making the jump from life in Big Ten softball to the Summit League. Things were always going to be uneasy during the transition, especially considering the youth of Omaha’s team last year. On the roster, there were a whopping 14 underclassman and just three seniors.

The team finished the season with an overall record of 4-43 and a Summit League record of 2-16, last place in the conference. Going by record alone, the 2019 season was the worst that Omaha softball has had in the Division 1 era.

Going into 2020, it seemed expected by many outside program that Omaha would have another year in similar fashion to last season. In the preseason Summit League coaches poll, Omaha was picked to finish dead last.

This season, however, Omaha softball is looking to turn doubters into believers. Coach Eberhart was brought into the team for a purpose, and as displayed in her time as an assistant coach at Purdue and head coach at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Eberhart has the capability to turn things around. In the seven games already over in the 2020 season, it seems Eberhart is doing just that.

The Mavericks started off this season at the Rambler Rumble tournament hosted by Loyola Chicago from Feb. 7-9. Omaha got their season off to a start in the best way possible, picking up a win against Eberhart’s former team, IUPUI. From the very first inning of the game, it seemed like Omaha might be in for yet another long season, as the Jaguars scored five runs in the top of the first alone. Omaha proved that they’ve grown from last season, however, as they responded immediately by scoring seven runs at the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Lynsey Tucker hit a single that sent senior Emily Klosterman home for the final run of the inning. That proved to be enough, and the Mavericks went on to win 7-6.

From there, Omaha only got better in the tournament. The Mavericks picked up their second and third wins of the seasons against Green Bay and Miami Ohio, beating both teams 8-0 in five innings.

The Mavericks then turned quickly after the tournament to play New Mexico State, where on Feb. 14 they picked up a 7-6 win, their fourth of the year—the total amount of wins last season.

Omaha, with a current record of 4-3, will keep looking to improve this year. The Mavericks’ next game is on Feb. 21 against New Mexico State. Their home opener is on Mar. 21, as they open up Summit League play against the South Dakota Coyotes.

 

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