Softball starting strong as season begins
Augustana’s softball team is currently on a four game winning streak.
Feb. 10-11 at the Kelly Laas Memorial Softball Invite in St. Cloud, the team faced Concordia, St. Paul and Nebraska Kearney twice. The Vikings won all four of its games, giving them a 5-4 record overall.
On Feb. 3, in Las Vegas at the Desert Stinger Tournament, the team played No. 2 Humbodlt State (now ranked No. 1) and No. 4 West Texas A&M (now ranked No. 2). Although Augustana lost both matches, junior pitcher Lexy Pederson attributes the team’s recent success to its time spent in Las Vegas.
“It’s been a lot of learning experiences,” Pederson said.
Although not enthusiastic about going 1-4 in the tournament, senior shortstop Sarah Kennedy, tried to put the team’s losses in the spin zone.
“Losing those games in Las Vegas put a fire under us,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy believes that some of the success stems from coach Gretta Melsted scheduling games against tougher schools.
“[Melsted] really challenges us before conference play,” said Kennedy,
Looking at the rest of the season, Pederson and Kennedy are optimistic about the team again. The team is striving to become the best they can be by the end of the season.
“We’re ready to come out and show people what we’re made of,” Kennedy said.
The team is currently on a short break, their next game is March 12 against Wayne State Mich., along with seven other teams in its spring trip to Leesburg, Fla. Melsted said, although they are playing good teams, she has confidence in Augustana.
“Do not underestimate this group, because this group has a lot of potential,” Melsted said. “We’ve got great team unity.”
After their time in Leesburg, the Vikings will travel to St. Joseph, Mo. to play six games in the MWSU Hy-vee Classic.
Melsted said the methods she uses to prepare her team depends on their upcoming opponent. She also reflected on the attitudes she sees in her players during practice and during games.
“I like the commitment that they are making to getting better all of the time,” Melsted said. “We try to have as much grit as possible.”
This is Melsted’s eleventh year at Augustana. She said, although all of her teams have had good culture, she has never seen a team as close as the current one. Melsted is confident the team’s tight-knit community, along with skills such as being coachable and desiring to win will lead the team to success by seasons end.