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Missouri softball's new businesslike mentality suits recent success

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | 8:45 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Missouri softball team has plenty to cheer about after last week.

But you wouldn't necessarily know it by looking in their dugout.

"We kinda look at it as like a business and a job," second baseman Ashtin Stephens said. "We try to be loud and stuff, but everything we do is for a purpose. We're not really like a 'cheery' team."

As the past week shows, that mentality is working.

The Tigers went 5-0 for the week. They swept a doubleheader against Western Illinois on Wednesday, and the team swept its three-game series against then-No. 20 Auburn over the weekend.

Additionally, freshman Kelli Schkade was named SEC Freshman of the Week after batting 6-for-16 for the week. She went 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple in Game 2 against Western Illinois, and she hit a home run in the final inning against Auburn on Sunday to give Missouri its first SEC Freshman of the Week award under coach Ehren Earleywine's program.

This led to season-high rankings in the latest polls, with Missouri now No. 13 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll.

But despite the success, Missouri's dugout is relatively tame.

Throughout the last home series the Tigers hosted against Georgia, organized chants bellowed from the Bulldogs' bench. Some were personalized for specific players. Some more generally cheered for hits.

All of them were loud.

"I don't know if Georgia woke us up with all their cheers or what," Earleywine said after the teams' first game.

Missouri gets its chance to continue its success in a doubleheader against Iowa on Wednesday in Iowa City, Iowa.


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