Softball tries to finish strong as regional tournament approaches
Head coach Gretta Melsted has high hopes as the regular season winds down, saying that making the NCAA tournament is “very much a possibility.”
“I would like to see us make a regional tournament and then go from there,” Melsted said. “You know, let whatever happens happen. But what we need to do to make it to that regional tournament is to take care of business in the conference because I think we’re a bubble team right now. We just need to go one game at a time, keep our eyes on the goal, focus and play well every single time.”
Junior infielder Kaylea Schorr agreed that the season has gone well despite having a small group.
“At the beginning of the season we had this big picture of us,” Schorr said. “Our coaches cut it up and laminated it. We all got a piece [to show that] we’re all part of a puzzle we all have to fit together in order for it to work.”
Just like the puzzle, the team “always has each other’s backs” and continues to work together despite the obstacles they have faced this season.
“If one person is not doing well, we have 10 other people that are going to step up,” Schorr said.
Junior pitcher Lexy Pederson echoed that same mindset, saying that the team’s goal, like many other teams, is winning a national championship.
“I think ultimately the goal is to continue to sweep teams in conference,” Pederson said. “We need to continue to play well every day and just find a way to win ball games when we do have people that aren’t having the best day, or having people who are feeling injuries.”
She said the team has been “just finding a way” through the season despite the odds stacked against their small team.
Pederson is referring to the original 13 players at the beginning of the season. After two starters were plagued with injuries only 11 players are left on the active roster.
“Not that it’s been super pretty, but we’ve found a way to continue winning,” Pederson said. “I think now it’s good just to focus on the next day for us.”
The Vikings have only a few weeks left before postseason play begins. Melsted believes her team can reach postseason as long as it keeps taking the season one game at a time.
“We have to take care of business,” Melsted said. “We need to beat the teams we know we can beat and steal some wins from some teams that can go either way for us to go into a regional tournament. That’s what I would like to see, make the NCAA’s which is very much a possibility and go from there.”
Currently, Augustana is ranked seventh in the first edition of the Central Region rankings. The top eight teams in the region at season’s end will advance to the NCAA Tournament in May. There are only 10 games left in the regular season for the Vikings before the NSIC Tournament May 4-6.