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Morning Sun
  • SISNEY: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

  • Conducting research on the top 50 of 2012, I ran across this “Countdown to First Pitch — Opening Day vs. Maryville” ticker on the Pittsburg State baseball page and I had a realization.



    I miss baseball and it would be nice to see a baseball game or a softball game, at least when temperatures warm up.

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  • Conducting research on the top 50 of 2012, I ran across this “Countdown to First Pitch — Opening Day vs. Maryville” ticker on the Pittsburg State baseball page and I had a realization.
    I miss baseball and it would be nice to see a baseball game or a softball game, at least when temperatures warm up.
    By the way, that little ticker changes every second. I remember seeing it at 54 days, another look it was 49 days, and right now, as I write this sentence with it changing several times because I’m a slow typist, it’s at 46 days, 2 hours, 55 minutes, 50 seconds.
    The Gorillas seem to be in great hands with new head baseball coach Matt Murray, only the third head coach in the 33-year history of the program (following Al Ortolani and Steve Bever), and second-year softball coach Elizabeth Economon.
    Murray has never been part of a losing season, during all his years as player and coach dating back to the 1990s.
    He played on a state championship team at Claremore (Okla.) High School in 1994, played on a conference title winner at Northeastern State (Okla.) in 1996, was an assistant coach on a state championship team at Claremore in 2000, was the head coach of two state championship teams at Claremore in 2003 and 2005 (2005 team ranked No. 11 nationally), spent one year as an assistant at Kansas State, and spent five years as assistant coach-recruiting coordinator at MIAA powerhouse Central Missouri before coming to Pittsburg.
    At his official introduction to the public as the new head coach, Murray said that he would be diving right into the job, not easing his way in. I saw Murray out at several American Legion games and showcases over the late spring and summer. Pitt State recently signed Frontenac standouts Matt Standlee and Blake Vail, who played American Legion ball for Pittsburg Post 64.
    Pitt State opens its season Feb. 16-17 at home with Maryville University, the Saints from St. Louis.
    Maryville finished its 2012 season 15-34 overall and 11-25 in the GLVC.
    There’s only two non-conference opponents listed on the Gorillas’ schedule: Maryville and Missouri-St. Louis, another GLVC opponent.
    Pitt State opens conference play at home Feb. 20 with a doubleheader against Central Oklahoma.
    The Gorillas play Emporia State, Missouri Southern, Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State each four times (home-and-home doubleheaders) and the rest of the MIAA in one three-game series.
    Pitt State faces conference road trips to Central Missouri, Nebraska-Kearney, Fort Hays State, Lincoln and Lindenwood.
    The Gorillas begin the regular season with four straight home games and finish it with five straight at home, a doubleheader against Missouri Southern (Apr. 23) and a three-game set against Northwest Missouri (Apr. 27-28).
    The Pitt State softball program made tremendous strides in Economon’s first year as head coach, improving from 13-35 to 29-28 on the strength of a school record-tying 15 consecutive wins.
    Page 2 of 2 - We talked a little bit about Murray’s background. Now, let’s delve into the past of Economon. She’s had as much success as, if not more than, Murray.
    Economon played softball in the MIAA for Truman State (2001-2004). She earned All-America honors three years and won the MIAA Most Valuable Player award in consecutive seasons, 2002 and 2003. She holds school records in runs scored (186), home runs (50), hits (272), total bases (495), RBI (193) and batting average (.432).
    After her playing career, Economon worked two seasons as an assistant at her alma mater. During her six seasons as player and coach in Kirksville, the Bulldogs made five NCAA Tournament appearances.
    She worked as a volunteer assistant at New Mexico, was a head coach at V. Sue Cleveland High School in New Mexico and an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State before taking on the Pitt State head coach position.
    The Gorillas played a challenging non-conference schedule last year — highlighted by a win over national champion Valdosta State (Ga.) in the Saint Leo Tournament (Fla.) — and that holds true for this year.
    Pitt State plays its first home game Mar. 15, a MIAA doubleheader against Northeastern State.
    Before that, the Gorillas play in the Saint Leo Tournament (Feb. 15-17), the Missouri Southern Memorial Tournament (Mar. 1-3 with games against Oklahoma Christian, Tarleton State, Maryville and Missouri S&T), a doubleheader with Newman (Mar. 6), the MSSU Border Battle (Mar. 9-10 with games against Upper Iowa, Missouri Western, Cameron and Missouri Southern) and a doubleheader against Drury (Mar. 12).
    Pitt State will have two extended homestands: eight games in March (Northeastern State, Central Oklahoma, Northwest Oklahoma and Winona State doubleheaders) and 12 games in April (Missouri Southern, Lincoln, Arkansas Tech, Newman, Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri doubleheaders). The 12-game stand closes out the regular season.
    Softballs flew out of the PSU Softball Complex on a regular basis last season, especially during a Saturday afternoon doubleheader against Northwest Missouri. We’ll first see if that holds true again on Mar. 15.

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