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The Daily Tar Heel

Plate patience pays off for Tar Heel softball

Softball beat App State
Softball beat App State

For the North Carolina softball team, it’s all about patience.

In the bottom of the first inning with two outs and the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Kati Causey worked a full count and took a pitch high and outside for ball four to drive in North Carolina’s second run of the game.

Two batters later, Megan Morrison did the same thing, and UNC never looked back.

UNC defeated Appalachian State (15-12) 9-2 on Tuesday to secure its 26th victory of the season.

“I think our girls did a great job at the plate today,” coach Donna Papa said. “I thought we were really selective at the plate, which is something the girls have been working on with our hitting coach, and that we got a lot of quality at-bats from a lot of different players.”

After chasing the Mountaineers’ starting pitcher Alissa Schoelkopf off after just one inning of work, 13 different Tar Heels combined for 13 hits and six walks, keeping the ASU pitchers busy by working full counts and fouling off pitches to keep UNC’s at-bats alive.

The Tar Heels (26-13) scored all nine runs in just two innings of play and nearly run-ruled Appalachian State before Sarah Warnock smacked a two-out double in the top of the fifth and drove in ASU’s only two runs of the game.

Redshirt senior Constance Orr said she believes being patient and seeing and zoning in on the ball has contributed to regaining her confidence at the plate, and helped her get her swing back.

“(Being patient) is a big thing for me,” said Orr, who was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. “Over the past few games I started out hot then kind of died down because I haven’t been seeing pitches or taking pitches like I need to. I tried to use this game to get my confidence back up for our next series, and it worked.”

Though the team capitalized on many opportunities that came its way, Causey recognized that there are still aspects of UNC’s game that need improvement.

“We need to finish better and make sure we score runs the entire game,” Causey said. “The first two innings we came out swinging but the last innings when (ASU) scored their runs, we didn’t really produce as much.”

But despite some missed opportunities, Causey said she agrees that this victory is a confidence booster.

“I think we played a really good game and that this (win) is a great boost,” she said.

“We all came together and at the end we also had to fight even harder and so it also shows how we can come out, beat in some runs and then also finish it.”

Papa said she hopes that the team’s confidence and success at home combined with its mental strength will continue to lead to good results.

“The girls are in a good place right now in terms of their mental game,” Papa said.

“They’re concentrating, they’re focused, they’re more relaxed, and they’re more confident after that little lull we were in. Confidence is huge, but patience is key.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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