Getting key hits the perfect remedy for what ails Mavs

Kris Mort could easily add another title to the sign on her office door at Mesa State College:
Softball Coach, Senior Woman Administrator, Morale Officer

Or maybe she could borrow Lucy Van Pelt’s psychiatrist’s sign and charge a nickel per session.

Player after player has filed into her office this week, each one asking the same thing.

“What’s wrong with me?”

The answer: Nothing a base hit with runners in scoring position or a few 1-2-3 innings won’t cure.

“I’ve got kids coming in here, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’ The problem is, you don’t know what’s wrong with you, the kid standing next to you doesn’t know what’s wrong with her, and I’ve got nine kids saying the same thing,” Mort said.

“You keep talking about it and it’s just making it a bigger issue by talking about it every day. Do you talk about it, or do you ignore it and hope it goes away?”

Mort keeps going back to the same thing: The Mavericks are not playing bad softball. They’re playing good teams early in the season and aren’t hitting with runners in scoring position.

“I can’t for the life of me figure out why we’re pressing so hard,” Mort said. “It’s so early in the year and we ran up against a buzzsaw (in an 0-4 weekend at Metro State). I don’t know if they thought it would be easy or what.”

Mesa State (4-6, 0-4 RMAC) debuts at home at noon on Saturday against the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in a doubleheader at Bergman Field. The teams play another twinbill at 11 a.m. on Sunday (don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour).

The RMAC is a hitter’s conference, and perhaps no year more than this.

“We’re not going to throw no-hitters in this conference,” she said. “The ball doesn’t move well in our climate, the cold makes it hard to get warm and stay warm and make your ball move, and the altitude helps the ball. Sometimes fly balls that are pop-ups get out in Colorado.”

In 156 games so far, RMAC hitters have put 133 balls over the fence.

The Mavericks, who are usually one of the top power hitting teams in the nation, let alone the RMAC, are fourth in the conference in home runs with 13 in 10 games.

Metro State has 27 in 16 games, UCCS 24 in 12 games and Chadron State 12 in 12 games.

Mort has pored over the stats of both teams and likes what she sees. The Mountain Lions’ pitchers are struggling, with ERAs well over 8. Their top pitcher, Stacy Ortiz, is out with a knee injury, so Mort is hoping the Mavericks’ bats can do what Metro’s did last week.

“We are hitting well as a team,” she said. “Three-twenty-two is pretty strong, .950 is a pretty strong fielding percentage, .537 slugging is decent, I think we can do better.

“If we can get two (more) people hitting, we’re hitting .350 as a team.

“We’ve got to face someone who we can have some success against. We haven’t really felt any stopping power. I think we’ve given up 78 runs, but (UCCS) has given up 114. They can score, though. They’ve got 90 (runs scored).

“We’re going to have to put up some runs. That’s where we’re getting beat. We’ve got to get those runners across once we get them on.”


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