Softball Embarks on MIAC Playoffs Thursday at Home Posted on May 10th, 2023 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team is set to host St. Catherine in the first round of the MIAC postseason tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The Gusties are the No. 4 seed after finishing the regular season 14-8 in the MIAC (23-17 overall), while the Wildcats are the No. 5 seed at 13-9 in the league (19-19 overall).


Gustavus has hosted MIAC playoff games in the past, but never at the Gustie Softball Field. In 2010 and 2013, Gustavus hosted the MIAC tournament at Caswell Park in North Mankato as a neutral site for the entire tournament.


Gustavus is making its league-leading 15th appearance in the MIAC postseason where it holds a record of 18-25 with one championship (2015). The MIAC playoffs began in 2004 and Gustavus has made the tourney all but four years since its inception. Last season the Gusties lost 6-5 to Saint Benedict in the opening round.


The Gusties swept St. Catherine for the first time since 2016, getting wins of 1-0 and 5-4 in the crucial MIAC series on April 27 in Saint Paul.

Gustavus 1, St. Catherine 0 | BOX SCORE

Piper Otto (Jr., Brooklyn Park) was no doubt the hero of game one for the Gusties. Otto pitched a complete game shutout to get the MIAC victory, allowing just five hits through seven innings of work. Otto’s shutout was crucial, as the Gusties managed only one run against the Wildcats in game one.

The Gusties waited until the top of the sixth to finally strike, as Shelby Ringwelski (So., Forest Lake) led the inning off with a triple. Lauren Lambert (Fy., Woodbury) followed Ringwelski with a walk, but it was Greta Dahlen (So., West Des Moines, Iowa) who scored the game-winner. Dahlen sent Ringwelski home on an RBI single for the only run of game one.

The Gusties managed six hits of their own, including two from the bat of Dahlen. Ringwelski, Madi Mueller (Jr., North Mankat0), Lambert, and Kate Murray (Sr., Chanhassen) combined for the rest.

Gustavus 5, St. Catherine 4 | BOX SCORE

Game two was quite the change in pace, as the Gusties wasted no time getting runs across the plate. A four-run first helped Gustavus take a commanding lead to start the game.

Mueller led off the game with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. MIAC Athlete of the Week Kayla Herda (So., Farmington) was walked in the next at-bat, followed by Caitlin Olafsson (Fy., Woodbury), who reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. An RBI single from Ringwelski scored Mueller and advanced the batters. Lambert was walked to score Herda, and Olafsson added one more as Olivia Guggenberger (Fy., Rosemount) reached on a fielder’s choice. Another Wildcat error gave the Gusties their final run of the inning and a 4-0 lead heading to the second.

From there, it was up to the Wildcats to play catch-up. A three-run third got them within one of the Gusties, before scoring a single run in the bottom of the fifth to pull even at 4-4.

The Gusties responded with a single run of their own in the sixth, as Dahlen once again led the scoring charge. Back-to-back singles from Dahlen and Kayla Ruud (Sr., Savage) put two on base for Kate Murray. Murray reached on a fielder’s choice, sending Dahlen home and moving the lead back in favor of the Gusties.

The Gusties’ insurance run was left on base in the bottom of the seventh, as Olafsson hit a monster double into deep left field, but had no luck reaching home. Marah Hulke (Fy., Courtland) put in her fair share of work to end the game in the seventh. After walking her first batter of the inning, Hulke sent three Wildcats down in order to seal the victory.

The Gusties finished game two with eight hits, including two once again from Dahlen, who also picked up an RBI and a run. Mueller, Olafsson, Ringwelski, Lambert, Guggenberger, and Ruud each added one to the total.

Maizie Anderson (Fy., Rosemount) got the start on the mound, allowing four runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work to pick up the win. Hulke closed out the game with no hits in her 2.1 innings of relief.


Gustavus enters the postseason having won 15 of its last 18 games. The Gusties have the third best ERA in the MIAC at 2.65, led by Piper Otto with a 2.12 ERA, which is also third best in the league. Otto is 10-6 in 19 starts with 63 strikeouts in 112.1 innings. Maizie Anderson has the second most innings on the team at 89.1 and owns a 3.21 ERA with 75 strikeouts. Caitlin Olafsson paces the offense with a .339 average, 33 RBIs, and a .455 slugging percentage. Olafsson, a strong candidate for MIAC Rookie of the Year, has started all 40 games (28 at second base) with a team-high 12 multiple-RBI games. Kayla Herda, who has also started all 40 games, is next with a .336 average. Herda leads the team with 34 runs, 44 hits, and is 20-for-20 on stolen bases.


St. Kate’s is 5-5 in its last 10 games, most recently splitting with Hamline to end the regular season last Friday. The Wildcats have split time between Riley Leonhardt and Erica Pronschinske as the starting pitchers. Leonhardt owns a 3.99 ERA in 115 innings with 37 strikeouts, while Pronschinske has a 5.47 ERA in 110.1 innings with 43 strikeouts. Sarah Posey leads the offense with a .321 average, 43 hits, and 27 runs. Julia Azure is next with a .320 average, 39 hits, six doubles, and 15 walks.


Thursday’s game marks the 78th meeting between Gustavus and St. Kate’s with the Gusties leading the all-time series 62-14-1. The Gusties and Wildcats have only met once in the MIAC postseason –  in 2016 with St. Kate’s winning 4-2.


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