Softball falls at MIAC playoffs, season comes to an end
After a very successful regular season, the Gustavus Softball team’s season came to abrupt end last weekend at the MIAC Conference Playoff Tournament, hosted by top seeded University of St. Thomas. The second seeded Gusties went 0-2 in the tournament, thus bringing their season to an end. The team’s overall record was 26-12, while earning a 17-5 record in regular season conference play.
The Gusties began the MIAC Playoff Tournament last Friday with a game against the third seeded St. Catherine University Wildcats, who the Gusties swept in a double header a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, this game resulted in a different outcome. The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead after a strong fourth inning. The Gusties then fired back and scored two runs of their own, cutting the deficit to 4-2 with one inning left to play.
In the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the game came down to the very last out, when Senior slugger Nathalee Boissiere stepped up to the plate with one runner on base. Boissiere swung for the fences, but a St. Catherine’s outfielder robbed what would been the game-tying home run for a very dramatic finish to the game.
After falling in their first game, the Gusties were then set to face Hamline University Pipers, who lost their first game against tournament host St. Thomas, in an elimination game on Saturday. Earlier in the season, the Gusties split a double header against the Pipers.
On Saturday, the Gusties came out on fire against Hamline, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead over the Pipers after the second inning. The score stayed the same until the fifth inning, where the momentum took a swing. Hamline scored four runs to take a 4-3 lead. Hamline then added one more insurance run in the sixth inning. With their season on the line, the Gusties were unable to complete the comeback, falling 5-3.
“Close, but no cigar. We had two innings that we could not work out of and those were the difference in each game,” Head Coach Jeff Annis said.
Although the result was less than ideal, the players kept their heads held high.
“This weekend did not turn out the way that we wanted, but overall, we played well as a team and never gave up. Though the outcome was not what any of us would have hoped, they were some of the most fun and well played games of my college career,” Boissiere said.
Boissiere hopes that next year’s team will learn from the mistakes and successes that the team experienced this season.
“Overall, I am very proud of what my team and I accomplished as a whole this year. This year with some insight from a new coach, Shelby Nosan, we reflected more on our growth as people at the end of our games and less on the outcome. Being my senior season, I wouldn’t have wanted it to happen any other way. Gustavus Softball has given me some of the greatest experiences and relationships of my life,” said Boissiere.
Boissiere, along with the rest of this year’s senior class definitely left an impression on all of those involved with the team.
“The seniors were five great players and even better people. Again, they take with them experience that we cannot replace. All five represented what it means to be a Gustie.” Head Coach Annis said.
The seniors will be missed by their teammates, as well.
“I can tell you that the seniors were some of the most understanding, caring, considerate, silly, and passionate people I know. Their personalities are so outgoing and funny. It definitely helped in high stress points in the season. I think I speak for the whole team when I say they will be greatly missed and have left their mark on the program for years to come. If you wanted to hear about how much each one of them meant to us, senior day was the perfect opportunity,” First-year Emily Webb said.
Webb, who was the starting second basemen for nearly the entire season, enjoyed her first season of collegiate softball and looks forward to the seasons to come.
“I don’t think I could have asked for a better first season. Not because of our record or anything like that, but for the ability to make amazing connections with some truly amazing people. Next season, I hope to see the same desire to compete as I did this season from my teammates, as well as from myself. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that we can compete with any team in the MIAC if we work hard and continue playing for We over Me,” Webb said.
The preparation for next season will include things such as summer league softball, weightlifting, captain’s practices, among other offseason activities to keep the team working and bonding together. Despite the bitter ending to the season, the Gustavus softball team enjoyed a rather successful season, and hopes to continue and improve on this success next season.