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Adame leading things off for No. 14 Tigers

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Junior outfielder Bianca Adame is in her first season with the Fort Hays State University softball team. Through the first two-thirds of the year, Adame continually has set the offense as the leadoff hitter, already broken the school's single season stolen base record and delivered several clutch hits in key home wins last weekend.

"It's a pleasure," Adame said. "Get things started for these girls, and they are awesome hitters. It's a pleasure to be a leadoff for them."

Adame, a transfer from Seward County Community College, has helped the Tigers start 33-5 and 13-1. FHSU jumped to No. 14 in the NCAA Division II rankings this week. It's the fifth straight week the program has received a ranking and the second-highest ranking of the year.

"We have just so much heart," Adame said. "Heart and passion. We are not going to lose."

Fort Hays is tied in the loss column with University of Central Oklahoma, 27-7, 11-1 MIAA. This weekend, the Tigers host Missouri Southern State University (19-19, 6-10 MIAA) in a 3 p.m. doubleheader today at Tiger Stadium. On Saturday, FHSU will face Pittsburg State University (18-18, 6-10 MIAA). Game time is 1 p.m. today.

Senior pitcher Maddie Holub collected national pitcher of the week honors for the second time and MIAA Pitcher of the Week for the fifth occasion after she tossed a perfect game last week against Northwest Missouri State University, the first one in school history.

"They are not intimidated easily," second-year coach Erin Kinberger said. "I don't think they really care what a pitcher's record is. We focus on us, and as long as we keep focusing on what we need to do and what we can control, we have told them that then they will come out on top."

Adame stands third on the squad with a .324 average and ranks second with 28 runs scored. She has 20 steals in 22 attempts.

"I just get good reads off the pitchers, and I am pretty fast," Adame said.

Last Friday against Missouri Western, Adame, a slapper, delivered a two-out double to left field to tie the game in the 10th inning.

"It's huge," junior catcher Callie Wright said. "Having her as our leadoff, she definitely always brings a spark to our lineup, but those clutch games have just been huge, because we know she can hit, and we have all the confidence in the world in her, so when she is able to come up and produce, it just gets everyone excited and ready to go through the lineup again and keep rolling. Having her on the bags, knowing that she is going to advance somewhere with her speed, it's great to have her."

FHSU went on to win 2-1 in 12 innings. Last Saturday, Adame came through with a big hit against Northwest Missouri in the sixth inning that tied the game at three. Fort Hays eventually won 4-3 in eight innings.

"She has been so key," Holub said.

"She has driven in a couple late inning runs when we needed a run or else we were going to lose this whole weekend. It's very clutch, because especially she is doing it with two strikes most of the time. It's really good to see her buckle down and to see her come through for us."