When evaluating the Eastview softball team, coach Trevor Monroe ignores rankings. For instance, Monroe didn’t realize his squad had climbed to No. 11 in the latest Class 3A rankings released Wednesday.

He also doesn’t see the value in labeling “signature wins.”

“Every win counts the same,” he said. “Every win is important.”

Still, let’s run down some highlights: Eastview defeated defending state champion Lakeville South 8-0 on April 13. The Lightning has beaten South Suburban Conference rival Eagan three times, including a 7-1 drubbing in the final of the Great 8 Tournament hosted by Eastview. That was after routing Class 3A No. 2 Bloomington Jefferson 8-1 in the semifinal.

Those marquee victories have helped Eastview to a 13-3 start to the season. Through Wednesday, the Lightning was 1 ½ games out of first place in the South Suburban.

Again, none of that is what Monroe focuses on.

“We worry about doing all the little things right and having the right process that we go about things,” he said. “If we do that, those little things add up and we’ll get some wins.”

As the regular season winds down, it appears Monroe’s players have bought into that mentality.

Defense first

The Lightning’s Kerrigan Hoshaw has been a force in the pitching circle this spring. Hoshaw has pitched 98 innings through the team’s first 16 games, striking out 115 and holding opponents to a .115 batting average.

She is one of six seniors who returned from last year’s team, a core that has helped provide instant stability.

“Five of those seniors have started at least three years; three of our juniors have started three years,” Monroe said. “Expectations were pretty high — they’re always high, but we felt if we could play our game this year, we’d be pretty successful.”

That game, Monroe said, starts with defense. Hoshaw has been dominant at times, her coach said, but the fielding around her has been superb as well.

Senior Julia Luciano, junior Jamie Reynolds and freshman Abby Lien have only one error combined in the infield.

Focus and hard work

Lien leads the team in a number of categories. She’s batting .491 with three home runs, four doubles, 14 RBI and 17 runs scored. She splits her playing time among catcher, shortstop and second base.

“She has such a passion for the sport and takes such pride in her defense,” Monroe said. “She just works very hard at every little thing.”

It’s those little things that Eastview’s players — and their coach — are most concerned with. Monroe said he wants his players to have a plan coming into each at-bat, based on the pitcher’s tendencies and their own strengths. He wants his players to be sharp on defensive strategies. And, more than anything, he wants them to hustle on and off the field.

“The goal the whole season is just to keep getting better,” he said. “We have such a tough conference and such a difficult section [Class 3A, Section 3] that anything can happen.”

“These girls just compete together,” Monroe continued. “We might flip the batting order, and they’re supporting each other; not worried about where they’re at [in the lineup]. They work hard and support each other. Those are the things you want to see and care about as a coach.”