ISU Softball 3/29/18

The Cyclone Softball team celebrates out of the dugout after three strikes.

In continuation of the tradition, the four main Iowa universities – Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa – will all meet for three straight days of games against one another.

The games will take place in Des Moines as Drake is up in the rotation for the host site.

Even though they are exhibition games that won’t count on each team’s official record, it provides opportunities for the fans and the players.

“From a fan standpoint, I think I would enjoy it," said coach Jamie Pinkerton. "I think it’s a good thing that we all get together and I think we all enjoy playing each other."

Senior Logan Schaben also spoke about fans in regard to the excitement of the games.

“I think the fan base has a lot to do with it too when we’re playing," Schaben said. "Lots of fans come out to those games so it just adds to the atmosphere, makes it that much more exciting."

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Iowa State junior Logan Schaben waits for the pitch during Iowa State vs Kansas game on May 3. The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 3-2.

The exhibition games are far from meaningless to the players.

“It’s definitely competitive. We definitely kick it up a notch for the Iowa teams especially just because it’s in state," Schaben said. "You definitely want to have those bragging rights. I’m an Iowa girl so that means a lot to me, personally knowing other girls on the teams.

"We always try to put our best foot forward to play those teams."

Senior outfielder Hannah Carter echoed Schaben’s words.

“I think it’s really exciting, especially with this new team to just see kind of what we have and put it against pretty much the best talent in the state," Carter said. "And of course, there are always those rivalries. I mean, we want to be the best in the state."

The fall season is all about getting practice and preparing for the upcoming season. These games provide an opportunity for in game experience, instead of just playing internally.

“Obviously we want to win, but right now I think the concern of the coaching staff is getting pitchers innings and getting people reps in positions we might need them in the spring,” Pinkerton said.

Iowa State currently has nine freshmen on the roster. Games like these can be beneficial in helping find their role and position.

“We want to be competitive and we obviously like to win the games, but right now I’m more concerned with what we do and getting people on the field and putting them in places they’re comfortable and putting them in situations and maybe positions they’re uncomfortable because with injures and everything, there’s always that chance of thrusting somebody into service in a position that they aren’t accustom to," Pinkerton said

Fall is the time for testing out these alternatives. Pinkerton called the fall “critical.” It is a time where the team can focus on specific areas to prepare for the regular season.

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Iowa state junior Hannah Carter slides into home during the Iowa State vs South Dakota softball game held at the Cyclone Sports Complex April 2. The Cyclones had three home run hits and defeated the Coyotes 9-1.

Not only do these games provide opportunity for the players of these four teams, they also serve as an opportunity for future players. Having all the four teams come together allows them each to be on display to these players and also allows for an alternating showcase of each university.

“I think it gives an opportunity for high school players to come out and watch the different programs," Pinkerton said. "It’s on each other’s campuses once every four years, it gives an opportunity for maybe future players, whether they be from Iowa or bordering states, to come in, check out our campuses, watch the teams play, watch coaching styles, watch the fan support, and things like that."

The Iowan players aren’t the only ones on the team that get excited to play the in-state teams.

“I’m an Iowa girl, but out of state girls, they’re all fired up too,” Schaben said.

Iowa State plays Drake on Friday at 6 p.m., Northern Iowa on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Iowa on Sunday at 11 a.m.

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