On Feb. 10, the East Tennessee State softball team started its season at the Gardner-Webb tournament. The tournament featured Gardner-Webb, Alabama A&M, and North Carolina A&T.  Their first game was against North Carolina A&T.

Junior Madison Ogle (Maryville, TN) got the start on the mound for the Bucs.

She managed the game well only giving up one run while striking out two batters during her five-inning pitching stretch. During her five innings pitching, she only allowed four hits. Freshman Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fl.) lead the Bucs offensive attack, going 3-4 with a RBI.

Senior Preseason All-conference player Danielle Knoetze (San Diego, Calif.) did not disappoint, going 2-2 on the day. The Bucs offense scored one run in the first inning, then exploded for three runs in the third inning.

They scored run five in the fifth inning, giving them the 5-1 lead. With this win, the Bucs started the season 1-0 for the first time since 2008.

Following the 1-0 start, the Bucs faced Gardner-Webb on the same day. Unlike the first game, the Bucs were not able to contain the opposing team’s offense, allowing eight runs.

Most coming from errors fielding the ball, neither of the three pitchers the Bucs used could get control on the mound, each giving up multiple runs.

Of the three pitchers, Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, TN) was the most successful, striking out five batters, however, giving up just as many runs. Despite the defense giving up so many runs, the Bucs offense gave the team hope coming one run short of tying the game.

Sophomore Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, TN) was big time for the Bucs, knocking in two runs. The Bucs lost 8-7 to bring their record to 1-1 on the season.

Day two of the Gardner-Webb tournament started with Bucs playing Alabama A&M at 10 a.m. before bracket play at 2 p.m. The Bucs offense once again was on full display, scoring seven runs with three-run innings coming in the third and fifth inning.

The Bucs as a team had 14 hits opposed to only allowing eight hits to Alabama A&M. Once again sophomore Tiffany Laughren headlined the Bucs offensive stat sheet, going 3-3 in the game with a RBI. The Bucs defense only allowed two runs. Senior pitcher Rebecca Wahrmund (Morrilton, Ark.) pitched four innings, throwing five strikeouts. With the 7-2 win, the Bucs record improved to 2-1 on the season.

With a chance to go to the championship the Bucs faced Gardner-Webb once again, this time winning 4-1, showing improvement on defense. With the win, the Bucs record improved to 3-1 on the season.

Sunday for the AmericInn Classic championship the Bucs faced Alabama A&M. The Bucs were able to secure the win 3-2 to win the championship. The Bucs 4-1 record start is the best in school history.