2020 Softball Season Preview

Posted on February 28th, 2020 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team will begin its 2020 campaign this weekend in Rochester for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday at the Rochester Regional Bubble. The Gusties will take on Domincan at 6 p.m. Saturday followed by UW-Eau Claire at 8 p.m. On Sunday, Gustavus will face Luther at 2 p.m. and Mount Mary at 6 p.m.

With a large majority of the team returning, Head Coach Britt Stewart, now in her fourth year at the helm, looks to a strong group of returners as well as a few newcomers to move the program forward. The Gusties are led by a group of four seniors that Stewart has high praises for.

Aly [Freeman] (Sr., Omaha) brings a big bat back for us this year and started on the mound for us in a lot of games,” Stewart said. “Emily [Carlson] (Sr., Burnsville) is a leader for us on the field, playing with grit and passion and is someone who has seen a lot of innings behind the plate. Caitlin [Kammerer] (Sr., Watertown) has been really consistent in her time at Gustavus. She’s filled many roles for us and we hope to continue to see her versatility, bring a lot of speed on the base paths, and be a leader on and off the field. Marissa [Marsolek] (Sr., Savage) works hard every single day and grinds things out and will do whatever you ask from her. She’ll play both infield and outfield and be a big utility player for us.”

Freeman was a force at the plate last season, batting .349 to go along with eight home runs for a slugging percentage of .670. She was named CoSIDA Academic All-America for her performance at the plate as well as a solid campaign on the mound, going 8-9 with a 2.96 ERA in 101.2 innings of work. Freeman added MIAC All-Conference honors while teammate Ashley Neuenfeldt (Jr., Bloomington) was named honorable mention. Neuenfeldt led the team with a .353 batting average and 27 runs scored, striking out just eight times in 119 at-bats.

The Gusties also bring in a strong first-year class that will look to contribute early on.

“We have six first-years coming in this year that are going to help contribute in multiple ways,” Stewart said. “Mackenzie Brey (Fy., Saint Peter) will help out our pitching staff and then we have a few other infielders and outfielders who are going to find playing time right away and compete for some positions which gives us more depth both defensively and offensively.”

The Gusties play eight games in Rochester over the next two weekends, followed by a trip to the new Mankato Sports Bubble for the Bethany Invite on March 18-19 before kicking off MIAC play on March 28 at home.

“This weekend we will use a lot of different kids in a lot of different positions defensively,” Stewart said. “Instead of the traditional nine playing we’re hoping to see 18-19 compete at some point this weekend. A big thing we want to see is productivity in our lineup and be able to get people on and move them around and get some big innings. Pitching wise we’re looking for Ashley and Aly dominate on the mound and to see Amara [Packey] (So., Fridley) and Mackenzie contribute to our staff as a whole.”

Gustavus is coming off a 2019 season in which it went 17-19 and finished eighth in the MIAC at 8-14. The team has set some early season goals but it aims at the newly restructured MIAC playoffs.

“We are really aiming to make the MIAC playoffs this season,” Stewart said. “We have a bunch of performance and outcome based goals that we look to fulfill in our early season games to see how we stand in the MIAC. With the conference playoffs now having six teams and us finishing in eighth last year, we think it is something we can definitely accomplish. We lost a lot of close games last year so to take the talent we have and our senior leadership and to use all of that going into MIAC play I think overall we’re going to be a better team than we were last year.”

 

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