Softball Set to Begin Season in Rochester Saturday

Posted on February 22nd, 2019 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team will begin their 2019 campaign this weekend when they head to Rochester for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday at the Rochester Regional Bubble. The Gusties will take on Luther at 10 a.m. Saturday followed by a Carroll at 2 p.m. and then on Sunday face Buena Vista at 8 a.m. followed by UW-Osh Kosh at 10 a.m.

Gustavus is coming off a 2018 season in which it went 12-24 and finished ninth in the MIAC at 8-14. With the team seeing 11 first-years on the roster and seven returners, Head Coach Britt Stewart, now in her third year at the helm, is focused on getting the young players some experience and competing right away.

“We’re looking to start the season and just go out and compete right away with a lot of younger players. We’re gonna have a few first-years starting and we’ll have a few others playing in key roles and we want them to be able to get experience and look to our returners for guidance and leadership from the start.”

Ashley Neuenfeldt (So., Bloomington, Minn.) and Aly Freeman (Jr., Omaha, Neb.) are the top returners this season as the two combined for 35 of the teams 36 start on the mound and were two of the teams top forces at the plate as well. Neuenfeldt led the team with a .359 batting average and .438 on-base percentage and she struck out just twice the entire season while Freeman led the Gusties with 10 extra base hits, drove in the most runs of all returners with 13, and posted a fielding percentage of .985, which led all Gusties with more than 20 chances.

Every year the team names a Leadership committee and this year Emily Carlson (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.), Freeman, and Carly Onraet (Sr., Deer River, Minn.) are the three members.

On the team’s leadership, coach Stewart said, “I think anytime you get younger kids to step up into leadership roles that it really helps. I think that in my third year we’re fitting all the pieces together. That stems from our leadership behind the plate with Emily. She’s entering her third year back there and she brings a leadership and calm to her that helps the other players on the team as well. Aly has been another junior who has started all three years and gotten experience as a leader for us. Then Carly goes to work everyday and leads by example, while Ashley Beise (Sr., Loretto, Minn.) has been a constant leader for us who will produce in the middle of our lineup this season. So we’re excited for all the girls who have been here for my three years that can help the 11 first-years that we brought in. We

Like stated earlier the Gusties bring back their two top pitchers from last year in Neuenfeldt and Freeman with both getting a ton of experience.

“Our game always relies on pitching,” said Stewart. “Ashley had a great freshman year for us and still has so much room for growth. She’s really honed in on accuracy, she’s starting to develop another pitch, and she’s got a year of MIAC play under her belt as well which will help. Aly is in her third year with us now and we look to her to fill a complimentary role to Ashley on the mound and she’s excited and ready for it. She came up big for us at the end of the year last year and we hope she carries that momentum into this season.”

In her third year at the helm of the Golden Gusties, Stewart has one key theme in mind.

“I think the biggest thing for us is consistency. Having consistent players in the outfield and infield and then really developing our pitchers will be huge for us. I feel like maybe we haven’t had that consistency in the past and now coming into this season girls are earning their spots with consistency in practice and look to bring that into games the rest of the season.”

After this weekends games, the Gusties will have a week off before they will head to Rochester again on March 3 for two more contests.

 

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