By Sarah Salazar
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Change can be a good thing.
Pitcher-catcher duo Ashly Jacobs and Holley Gentsch have come to see that new transitions have contributed to the success of their Texas Tech softball team.
The Red Raiders have already collected 35 wins this season, an improvement from last season’s 15.
In his first season in Lubbock, Head Coach Shanon Hays is building a foundation from a young team that has only two seniors and two juniors on the roster.
“I am just thrilled with this group of girls and how they have responded to this coaching staff,” Hays said. “The way they mesh together is amazing.”
Sophomore catcher Gentsch, who has 22 RBI on the year while hitting .211, is prepared to contribute to the building of the Lady Raider softball team.
“With Coach Hays and the assistant coaches coming in,” Gentsch said. “It has definitely propelled us towards that goal of letting people know what type of organization we are. I am really looking forward to continuing to build on that.”
Senior pitcher Ashly Jacobs is having an improved season with 13 wins and a 1.45 ERA. She credits this season’s success to the simple approach Coach Hays takes.
“Coach Hays is a lot simpler in letting us do things,” Jacobs said. “That has been easy for me to get on track with. I can kind of relax and go out there and throw rather than be so worried about a lot of things.”
Jacobs is happy to be a part of a team that has been successful despite transitioning to a new coaching staff. Even if it is only for her senior year, she is excited to have the experience.
“Whether we end up going as far as we want to or not,” Jacobs said. “We have done more than anyone thought that we would having a new coach coming in this year.”
However, the team is looking for more than just an improved record.
Under Hays, Jacobs and Gentsch hope to lead the Lady Raiders to their first NCAA Regional appearance in eight years.
“It’s a possibility,” Hays said. “It’s our goal to make the postseason. If we pitch well, play well and have good defense, we can do it. We have to finish strong.”
Gentsch began her career at Tech under a different head coach, but her goal has always been to build the softball program. Working with Hays, Gentsch is having fun doing just that and competing with the rest of the squad.
“He has made a lot of people that were here last year love the game of softball again,” Gentsch said. “He makes it fun for us. We go out there and the whole goal, he says, is for us to compete every day. We just go out there and do the best we can do.”
Gentsch holds optimism for the postseason, especially if the team continues on their current track.
“Our goal is just to make it to the regionals,” Gentsch said. “Just go game-by-game to achieve that goal and I think we have done a great job reaching the steps that we need to get there.”