The Elma High School softball team got off to a slow start with two wins in the first seven games of the season, but for coach Janene Todd it isn’t about how the team started the season but how they finish it that matters.
On Monday, the Eagles (4-5, 3-3) showed they are ready to turn a corner in the season with a sweep of Rainier in a doubleheader. Elma won the first game 10-0 in five innings and dominated the nightcap 17-1 in three innings.
Elma senior Brooke Goldsmith controlled the opening game from the circle throwing a no-hitter and sparked the Eagles offense going 2-4 with four RBIs.
“She (Goldsmith) had 10 strikouts and one walk, which for her so far this year she has had five, six, seven walks in a game, so for her to be more in control of the pitching is a big step,” Todd said.
The Eagles were slow to find their offensive rhythm with the first six batters sent to the plate in the first game recording outs. After the second inning, Todd gathered the team together to tell them to concentrate on timing and be patient. The pep talk was taken to heart and the Eagles hit around the order to add five runs in the third inning with each player recording at least one hit in the next three innings.
“At that point when they came back in we had a talk and we are just glad they came out of it,” Todd said. “They were anxious. Not everybody has had a hit in previous games. We had four or five girls that didn’t get a hit in our previous game. Everybody was successful today and hit the ball.”
Elma had no trouble scoring runs in the nightcap. The Eagles batted around the order for five runs in the first inning and grabbed 10 runs in the second.
The offensive explosion was a good sign for Todd and a confidence builder for the team, which was able to stay in a tie with Rochester for third place in the Evergreen 1A league with the two wins. Elma faced North Mason on Tuesday and will play a doubleheader with Forks Thursday. Each game is important as the Eagles head toward a matchup against rival and league leader Montesano on May 8.
“The goal is to have five wins this week to go in and play Monte next week,” Todd said. “If we don’t have that, then we don’t have a chance to finish in the top four in league. We have to win these games. It is about confidence, but more importantly it is about being the team that we know we are and not just showing up and giving half the effort.”
The Eagles may not have had the start they wanted, but they would rather focus on the future than concentrate on the past.
“We had a little bit of a rough start and that was not what was expected, but we have had some big shoes to fill,” Todd said. “This is the start to go into districts. Top four go to districts and that is what we are shooting for. We are going to come together when it matters and it matters right now.”