The Morris softball opened its season with a southern road trip, stopping first in Murphysboro in southern Illinois before heading to Memphis for a team-bonding ziplining adventure and then heading to Arkansas, where they played four games, including one against a team from Smackover, coached by former Redskin great Stefanie Steele.
On the field, the Redskins came home with a 2-3 record.
They began the season by falling 12-1 to Murphysboro, although they collected eight hits in the contest. Jaelyn Wiers led the way with three hits, while Claire Gugerty drove in the only run in the first inning.
The Arkansas swing for Morris began with a 12-4 loss to El Dorado, as Gugerty had three hits and two RBIs. The Redskins finished with seven hits.
Morris then picked up its first win of the season Saturday, defeating Junction City by a 9-2 score, collecting 12 hits in the process. Kennedy Dransfeldt led the offense with three hits, while Gugerty had two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs, while Grace Lines added two hits. Sara Thomas and Madigan Doss both had an RBI. Doss started on the mound, throwing 5 1/3 innings and Addie Narwick finished up with 1 2/3 innings.
"The Junction City game was the best I have seen us play this early in the season in the last five or six years," Morris coach Jen Bamonte said. "We didn't make an error in the field, our pitchers hit their spots and we had quality at-bats. When we had runners in scoring position, we were able to plate them."
Morris won its second straight game Monday, pounding out 11 hits and upending Harmony Grove, 6-4. Lines and Wiers both had two hits. Doss got the win on the mound, going 5 2/3 innings, with Narwick finishing the last 1 1/3.
The trip finished with a 12-4 loss to the Steele-coached Smackover team. The Redskins had seven hits in that game, with Dransfeldt collecting two and Gugerty adding a two-run homer. Doss threw three innings for Morris and Narwick threw two.
"Overall, this was a very successful trip," Bamonte said. "I am very satisfied with coming home with two wins. The caliber of competition we were facing down there was very much like the top of our conference, so I feel good about how we played. We are a very young team, so to go 2-3 the first time we were outside is very satisfying.
"Our first day in Murphysboro was a varsity-JV doubleheader. We brought 18 girls on the trip and everyone got to play a good amount of innings, so that was good to see. We were able to get a lot of different girls some at-bats throughout the trip."
Perhaps more important than the on-the-field results for the Redskins was the off-the-field bonding they were able to experience.
"That part has been fantastic," Bamonte said. "The kids have gotten really close on this trip, which is what you hope happens. They have had a lot of fun and have really gotten to know each other. We are a much closer team than when we left and we have grown as a team from Saturday to Monday.
"We have had some real good performances. Both Kennedy Dransfeldt and Jaelyn Wiers are both hitting over .500 for us. In five games, we have 15 stolen bases, so we are really showing we can use our speed. And Claire Gugerty has been doing what you hope a senior does. She has 10 RBIs already. And, our pitchers have been better than we expected. All of them - Sara Thomas, Madigan Doss, Maddie Noon and Addie Narwick - have been throwing strikes. They aren't going to blow people away with their speed, but they haven't been hurting themselves by putting people on base. And, our defense has been really good, especially considering we hadn't been outside before this trip."