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Young Woodward-Granger team planned to compete every day

The goal is clear and simple in the mind of Woodward-Granger head softball coach Noah Bean – having his squad compete every day.

“We’re trying to compete for our conference title,” Bean said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids, so just getting them to be focused every day and are ready to play. We’re also trying to get back to the state tournament, but it starts every day, getting going at practice then moving forward.”

The Hawks have started the season 6-3 and are currently on a four-game win streak, most recently winning big over Panorama on June 10, 9-1.

However, two of Woodward-Granger’s three losses – Centerville (16-0; May 31) and Carlisle (15-0; May 31) – has shown Bean that being aggressive on all cylinders of the game is needed in order to succeed.

“Fielding, base-running, at the plate and we’re trying to be aggressive with our pitch calling, we want to try make other teams look bad and make mistakes so that we can capitalize, and that’s what Carlisle and Centerville did to us,” Bean said.

“It’s just those little things good teams tend to do that we’re trying to fix.”

Last season, the Hawks finished 19-17 and posted the top batting average in the West Central Conference at a .371 mark.

This season, the same could be said as Woodward-Granger is tied for the best batting average in the conference along with Earlham at .333.

Much of that pop can be credited to the contributions of sophomore Dalaney Bice.

She’s batting .545 with team-highs in hits (12), doubles (4) and RBIs (7).

Bice is also one of the team’s top pitchers, owning a 4-3 record with 33 strikeouts and a 5.53 earned-run average.

Despite scattering 33 hits and walking 27 batters in 43.0 innings pitched, Bice has subdued opponents to hitting just .191.

Bean views Bice as one of the leaders taking control of this team.

“She’s our pitcher, she’s our three-hole hitter, we’re going to go where she goes,” Bean said.

But top to bottom within the Hawks’ lineup, Bean is confident.

“With them swinging the stick, I don’t think we’ll have a hole there,” Bean said. “Annie Webb keeps us light on our feet, not too serious, and Alyssa Jack anchors our defense when we’re out on the field.”

Outscoring their opponents 30-9 from June 2 to June 10, the Woodward-Granger softball team will try to continue the winning ways Friday and Saturday at its own softball tournament, with games beginning as early as 9 a.m.

Due to print deadlines, the June 12 game was not included to this story.

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