Alli Joerger – Staff Writer
After a valiant effort from the Gustavus Women’s Softball team, the team unfortunately fell in both games into a double header, hosted in the MSU-Mankato dome against St. Catherine University. The final scores for the games were 1-6 and 0-6 respectively. Despite the loss in MIAC play, the Gusties are confident that they can achieve their goals of competing among the best in the remainder of the regular season and secure a position in the MIAC playoff tournament.
In the first game, both teams went without scoring until the third inning where St. Kate’s scored three runs on three hits. St. Kate’s then scored three more runs in the sixth inning to accumulate their final score. The Gusties’ offense was led by Sophomore Isabel Reuvers, who was 2-3 at bat. The Gusties’ one run was scored by Junior Kayla Ruud in the bottom of the sixth.
The second game proved to be a similar situation for the Gusties, with St. Kate’s scoring two runs in the first two innings, another run in the sixth, and three more runs in the seventh to reach their final score. The Gusties were unable to string their hits together, with four Gusties each earning one hit throughout the second game. “We had a hard time getting our bats going over the weekend,” First-year right fielder Greta Dahlen said.
Reuvers’ consistent offensive efforts and payoff in the first game earned her the title of “Player of the Game” within the Gustie squad. This was the first time Reuvers had earned that title, which was something she was very proud of. The offensive efforts of the first game can be accredited to the fact that “a couple other Gusties strung a couple hits,” allowing the team to score their one run, Reuvers said.
On the pitching side of the game, the Gusties had a plan that ultimately was not executed to the level the team wanted and needed to defend against St. Kate’s. First-year pitcher Chloe Smallfield explained that the Gusties knew about several strong hitters on the Wildcats’ roster going in the game. In order to prevent those hitters from earning hits, the pitchers went into the game “looking to attack each batter and get ahead in counts,” Smallfield said. Despite this initial plan, both Sophomore pitcher Piper Otto and Smallfield, who started the first and second games respectively, unfortunately took pitching losses against the Wildcats.
“The pitchers went into the game looking to attack each batter.”
Though the losses to St. Kate’s are unfortunate for the team in looking to the MIAC rankings, the team has no time to lick their wounds and instead must instantly refocus and gear up for an intense run of competition within the next two weeks.
Due to weather conditions, the Gusties have faced several cancellations, reschedules, and cold conditions in order to make games happen before the playoff tournament. Now, between the St. Kate’s games and the May 1 end of regular season play, the Gusties are scheduled to face six MIAC competitors. The match-ups will be double headers, and counting two non-conference match-ups in the same time frame, the Gusties are preparing to play fourteen games in the next ten days.
Such a grueling schedule requires the Gusties to focus on themselves and what they can control to hopefully advance in the conference. Reuvers explained that each player’s first priority is to “stay healthy” and listen to their bodies. Reuvers also said that it is important that the team get into “a positive mental headspace by not getting too deep into things you can’t change from the past” so that they can enter each game with the energy they need to support each other and succeed.
“Getting into a positive mental headspace by not getting too deep into things you can’t change from the past.”
On the technical side, the Gusties showed room for improvement, especially when on the offensive. As the team prepares to face teams like St. Olaf College (8-0 in the conference) and Carleton College (4-4 in the conference), it is important for the Gusties to make offensive statements to ensure their place in the conference tournament. Though athletes are unsure of the exact practice plans of the coming weeks, Dahlen commented that she hopes the team will focus on hitting as a priority in order to prepare for MIAC competition.
After a loss to the Wildcats, the Gusties are preparing to refocus their effort on more conference play as the team sets its sights on the MIAC conference title. The team will visit Concordia College on April 21, and then host Hamline University on April 23, weather permitting.