The Gustavus softball team got off to a bit of a slow start but found its stride when it went down to Arizona for the Tucson Invitational in mid-March. After going 1-3 over the weekend of February 25th and 26th, the team took their strong play to its competition in Arizona, going 3-1 over the four-day trip. The team continued with its winning ways going 3-1 since its return to Minnesota and finished with a 6-2 record in March. A big reason for this early-season success is the leadership of senior Lisa Klass (Richfield, Minn.). Klass compiled a .400 batting average with seven runs scored, six RBI, two doubles, and two triples. Because of her outstanding play the Office of Sports Information has named Lisa Klass the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for March, presented by Thrivent Financial.
The sunny skies of Arizona were a welcomed site for the Gustavus softball team after a rough 1-3 start in February. Gustavus went 3-1 on the trip and found themselves right back in the mix of things heading into conference play. Klass contributed in every game offensively. In game one, she went 0-3 but added a run scored and two RBI. In game two, Klass’s got going at the dish, going 3-4 with another run and a RBI. Game three saw Klass deliver in a clutch situation. With the Gusties down 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Klass hit a two-RBI double to put give the Gusties a 3-2 lead, which they would hold on to for the one-run victory. Before what proved to be Klass’s game winning double, the Gusties had been 0-3 in one run games. To wrap up the trip, Klass went 1-3 with a run scored, giving her a total of six hits, three runs and five RBI on the trip.
Klass didn’t skip a beat when the team returned to Minnesota to open up conference play. In an away series against Bethel, Klass went 4-5 with three runs scored, an RBI and also earned a BB. In game one, after a four run outburst by the Gusties in the top of the fourth, Klass kicked off the top of the fifth with a triple and scored on an error by the second baseman. Game two saw more of the same of Klass playing the role of spark plug. She kicked off the game with a single and eventually came around to score to help give the Gusties an early 2-0 lead. In the third, Klass continued her torrent streak of good play and added an RBI double and eventually stole third. The Gusties won both games by comfortable margins.
The final two games of the month, both played in Rock Island, Ill. at the Augustana Tournament, saw a little bit of a slowdown for Klass as she went 1-7 in the two games but added another run scored in game two. The run scored was a big one, as it proved to the game winner in the bottom of the eighth inningagainst UW-Oshkosh, giving the Gusties a 1-0 win. Klass’s six-game hitting-streak she compiled during March also came to end in the final game of the month.
When asked about Klass’s strong play in March, it came as no surprise to Head Coach Jeff Annis. “That’s what we were expecting from our senior lead-off hitter. She’s starting to see the ball at the plate and is feeling home at second,” said Annis. However, it hasn’t just been the play on the field. Annis went on to say, “Her leadership on and off the field has made an immense impact on the incoming players.”
Klass and her teammates will remain at St. Peter over Spring Break to continue the grinding schedule. After two more games at the Augustana Tournament, the Gusties head to UW-La Crosse before continuing its conference schedule against Hamline University in St. Paul.