Softball gears up for conference season

Softball gears up for conference season
Delaney Young and Mary Pardo hit their helmets together in celebration after the win against Wayne State on Monday, March 28. Photo by GoAugie/Jurgens Photography.

The Vikings’ No. 8 softball team headed into conference play after a stellar weekend tournament in Missouri.

The softball team pulled out a double header win against Wayne State at Sherman Park on Monday, March 28, finishing the games 5-0 and 8-0. This comes after a 3-1 weekend in the Missouri Western tournament in Warrensburg, Missouri.

The team began the weekend on Saturday, March 19 against the Northeastern State Riverhawks. The Vikings held the Riverhawks to one run in the fifth inning, scoring a total of 10 by the bottom of the sixth. Senior Abby Lien and sophomore Kennedy Buckman pulled in five runs with homerun RBIs, ending the game 10-1.

“Our bats really came alive throughout the weekend, honestly,” junior Gracey Brink said. “We were able to string along a lot of hits together. I think just all around it was really impressive that we were all able to produce something throughout the lineup.”

Saturday afternoon, the Vikings fell to the University of Central Missouri.

“You know, we probably should have come out 4-0,” coach Gretta Melsted said. “We left a few base runners on and things like that. But what it was is we had a few defensive miscues during that game. But, we were able to turn around the next day and absolutely crunch them the next time we played them.”

The Vikings came back on Sunday, March 20 to dominate the Riverhawks 7-0 and run-rule UCM 12-0.

“What I’m really encouraged by is we hit well this weekend, yet we had a lot of kids that did get hits that weren’t quite able to fall,” Melsted said. “And those will hit the ground sometime. As long as you’re hitting the ball hard, then you’re constantly putting pressure on the defense. So I’m really, really proud of our kids for that this weekend.”

Senior Mary Pardo dropped one home run per game on Sunday, with junior Torri Chute and Buckman each hitting one over the fence against UCM.

“We need to keep the mentality that we are playing one game at a time,” Pardo said. “Not to get too ahead of ourselves, we are all very excited for conference play, and I think that we are going to come out strong.”

Now, the Vikings are gearing up for conference season and the road to the NCAA Championships.

“My goal never changes for my teams, and that’s always to make it into the NCAA tournament and then whatever happens happens, because you have to have a lot of things go your way,” Melsted said.

Melsted also said she is proud of her players’ attitudes on the bench and on the field.

“How they treat each other, how they act on the field and things like that, that’s what separates them too,” Melsted said. “And that was really noticeable this weekend, so I think they need to be praised for what type of teammates they are to each other.”

The Vikings will take on the Minnesota State Mavericks in a double header at Mankato on Saturday, April 2.

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