Injury and loss: Hawks adjust to change

Recently the Hawks lost their starting pitcher due to an ACL injury and were forced to recruit new coaches mid-season.

New head coach Kyle Packard, a sophomore studying business management, said the team is going to do whatever it takes to keep winning.

He said when trying to replace Ashlyn Davis, their starting pitcher and a freshman studying psychology, he asked girls who have some pitching experience to join the team and is now working with them to get them ready for the game.

“It’s hard that we lost our pitcher,” Packard said.

Davis said they lean more on each other for support during these situations.

For the majority of practice since Davis’ injury, the coaches have worked with three girls who could be pitching in the games.

Sierra Shepherd, a freshmen studying exercise physiology, is one of the girls that will be pitching.

She said the biggest challenge is learning how to pitch because the technique can be difficult to master.

“If you are a pitcher, it is something that you are seven days out of every week,” said Amanda Scarborough, an All-American softball pitcher, ESPN analyst and pitching coach, in her article “Dear Pitcher, You Are Not Alone.” “You work harder than anyone else on the team, you have more pressure on your shoulders than anyone else on the team, and you get celebrated more than anyone else on the team.”

Another pitcher, Makayla Mathias, a sophomore studying elementary education, said she has always wanted to be a pitcher but never could get herself to do it because of the pressure.

She said she would practice in her backyard even when she played third base in high school.

“One semester, my rec softball team didn’t have a pitcher, and it was a lot of fun pitching for them,” Mathias said.

She said it was useful because now she is pitching; however, recreation is slow pitch compared to fast pitch in competitive.

“I’m going to try to do my best to help my team win,” Mathias said. “I want my team to win.”

Packard and his assistant coach said they are confident with their game plan for the Hawks. They are going to show up and play hard. They have seen improvement every practice.

“I just want to help my girls out by teaching them the fundamentals and practicing game like situations so when it comes to the games they know what to do without me calling everything,” Packard said.

He said that he wants them to be independent players and actually learn the game and that giving his players encouragement and motivation is important to him.

Packard said his coaching style is aggressive.

“I want them to steal bases, go after every ball and make plays,” Packard said.

He said that the team is going to train hard. They need to condition as much as possible, so during games when the other team is tired, they will be ready to secure victory.

Packard has played baseball for 15 years and was offered a full-ride scholarship to Washington State.

He said he got injured and chose to go on a mission and when he returned he decided to come to BYU-Idaho.

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