Gopher Softball 2020

ClassOf98Gopher

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I love boomers, through I am a Gen X’er. I love Minnesota, though I am a Tennessean now. I love softball, though I never played the sport.

I say all that to say that I am sure about nothing and I certainly don’t want to present myself as a know-it-all. I think reasonable people may think what I am saying makes a little sense, and that could cause fans to be generous if their team loses some games or slips in the standings. Others may take a different view and some can be less generous towards any slippage.

Either way, I am going to slow down in my posts for the next couple weeks so I don’t get too annoying. But I sure will be rooting for those women in maroon and gold!
 

4EverAGopher

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I just want to clarify that my previous post, which was my personal feeling and thinking, was not intended to be directed to any specific member of this forum. I was just speaking in general to something that I have been thinking for some time.
 

Panthadad2

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I just want to clarify that my previous post, which was my personal feeling and thinking, was not intended to be directed to any specific member of this forum. I was just speaking in general to something that I have been thinking for some time.

I keep re-reading your previous post looking for something anyone could possibly take offense to (pretty easy nowadays). Couldn't find it.
 

Hrothgar

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I would repeat my point: I feel recruiting is nearly all the job in college coaching. If you have great talent, you'll win big, but you gotta have the charisma to get in parents'/players' living rooms and convince remarkable talent to come play for you, regardless where you're located. Fleck seems to have it (they play for him in the snow). Allister had it (they came to play for her at MN in some horrible weather). Still, I put a lot of the unsettled feelings of the last two years on Allister. She recruited lots of outstanding players, then bailed out on them mid-stream. Why shouldn't they leave, if the boss leaves? To my thinking, that's way too mercenary even in a mercenary business. I don't sense that powerful recruiting power from the present softball staff, but maybe I'm wrong. I sincerely hope I am. Despite whatever shortcomings the present coaches might have, I don't see them building a national product and then deserting it at the height of its prowess. People's true colors tend to come to the fore.
 

Metoo

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Should still be ranked, but probably 18-22 range. 1 HR, 37 K of 140 AB + 28 BB + 7 HP not very good. Stats for the weekend:

DenHartog 6-14, 5 runs, 5 RBI, 1 HR, 4 hbp
Partain 7-18, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 4 bb
Strelow 3-8, 3 runs, 4 bb
Hansen 6-18, 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 5 k
Brandt 4-16, 2 RBI, 3 runs, 5 BB, 5 k
Lindner 2-8, 2 runs, 2 rbi, 3 bb, 4 k
Jones 2-10, 1 run, 5 k
Vander Heide 2-15, 3 runs, 1 rbi
Kemmettmueller 1-13, 3 runs, 5 bb, 4 k

Fiser 23 IP, 15 H, 12 R (9 er), 10 BB (yikes), 38 K, 7 WP
Pease 13 IP, 12 H, 6 R (6 er), 0 BB, 19 K, 0 WP

Strelow 4 SBA / 1 caught
Peterson 1 SBA / 0 caught

Hansen 2 errors, rest 0
I wonder what the stats are if you split up the ranked teams vs the unranked teams. Seems our #1 pitcher gets most of the easier games?
 


Metoo

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I think all of us, whether pollyannaish boosters or critics, can see objectively the strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: pitching; defense (mostly); all-around athleticism. Weaknesses: abyssmal hitting; lack of power; poor base-running; not always being prepared to play (vs. Missouri in first game and vs. Kentucky). No matter how great your defense/pitching is, you can't win if you don't score runs. I think we all wait for the team to break open these tight games with big innings, with some real firepower, not harmless infield grounders. Will it come later?

I watched numerous games this past weekend on TV/streaming, from around the country. Lots of teams have 1st & 2nd-year players, who produce great stuff like mad, the way Macken, Groenewegen, Fiser, Houlihan, and Partain have done at MN before. Are the present Gophers underclass players A) just not that good or B) talented slow starters? Surely we hope it's B. Nothing would be greater than a strong Gopher upsurge.
If B then why not use the underclassmen on the blow out games and see what they can do? A isn't that how you build a program?
 

Metoo

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Interesting take. If the starting QB left the football program two years in a row like the starting catcher has left the softball program two years in a row what would they be saying on the football board?
I think we should put Carlie behind the plate so she gets all positions played for the gophers. May be better than current situation. Use the underclassman SS and see what will be coming. Maybe coaches didn't see and treat catchers as the value that they are (and every player serves their purpose) and it is hurting the program.
 

Metoo

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What's missing most is Brandner's bat and on-field leadership. W/o her, it's a win one-lose one team held together by 2 pitchers and 2 hitters.
Field leadership and excitement on the field is a must. It's a game, are they allowed to have fun? Happy girls play better.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I would repeat my point: I feel recruiting is nearly all the job in college coaching. If you have great talent, you'll win big, but you gotta have the charisma to get in parents'/players' living rooms and convince remarkable talent to come play for you, regardless where you're located. Fleck seems to have it (they play for him in the snow). Allister had it (they came to play for her at MN in some horrible weather). Still, I put a lot of the unsettled feelings of the last two years on Allister. She recruited lots of outstanding players, then bailed out on them mid-stream. Why shouldn't they leave, if the boss leaves? To my thinking, that's way too mercenary even in a mercenary business. I don't sense that powerful recruiting power from the present softball staff, but maybe I'm wrong. I sincerely hope I am. Despite whatever shortcomings the present coaches might have, I don't see them building a national product and then deserting it at the height of its prowess. People's true colors tend to come to the fore.

I am curious about this Allister recruiting powerhouse reputation that is out there. Not saying it is wrong, I don’t know enough to be sure, but I would not be surprised if the four highest recruited players Allister ever brought in over her 7 or 8 years at Minnesota was that class that came in as freshman in the 2017 season with Fiser, Lindaman, and Partain and maybe you can include Brandt as a hot regional recruit as well. I am just not sure all of the rest of her recruited players were not considered as “development projects“ by national recruiting experts.
 



4EverAGopher

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I believe the average window given for a new head coach in any sport is around 5-6 years to develop that program. With that said, this Freshman class and next year's should be the determining factor in her success for recruiting/coaching here at the U of MN. Or am I wrong in thinking that?
 
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Hrothgar

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I am curious about this Allister recruiting powerhouse reputation that is out there. Not saying it is wrong, I don’t know enough to be sure, but I would not be surprised if the four highest recruited players Allister ever brought in over her 7 or 8 years at Minnesota was that class that came in as freshman in the 2017 season with Fiser, Lindaman, and Partain and maybe you can include Brandt as a hot regional recruit as well. I am just not sure all of the rest of her recruited players were not considered as “development projects“ by national recruiting experts.

I don't know which poster(s) you're referring to. I for one didn't use the term 'powerhouse' about Allister's recruiting. I said she brought some 'outstanding' recruits: strong defensive catchers, very good outfield defenders, and Groenewegen, plus good bats. Her infield defense was never stellar, and the backup pitchers behind Groenewegen failed to pan out (which proved a weakness), until Fiser, but Allister coached her only one year.

Having said all that, I feel the general critiques from 2020 posters boil down to a specific frustration and kinda helpless disappointment at the lack of power hitting and especially the absence of clutch hitting on this year's team. It gets very painful seeing games that should be won just slide away, not with a bang but a whimper. With that, maybe I've said too much, just like 98 said above. I need to keep quiet.
 

rugger14

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I am curious about this Allister recruiting powerhouse reputation that is out there. Not saying it is wrong, I don’t know enough to be sure, but I would not be surprised if the four highest recruited players Allister ever brought in over her 7 or 8 years at Minnesota was that class that came in as freshman in the 2017 season with Fiser, Lindaman, and Partain and maybe you can include Brandt as a hot regional recruit as well. I am just not sure all of the rest of her recruited players were not considered as “development projects“ by national recruiting experts.
I think she worked hard to get Sara G. Ellie Jensen and Alex Velasquez were Flo All-Americans and very highly rated. We have had debates about FLO and I don't believe in their ratings. Jensen was actualy committed to Iowa State and Allister flipped her to Minnesota. I think Lowary was supposed to be a big-time pitcher but she was never 100%.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I think she worked hard to get Sara G. Ellie Jensen and Alex Velasquez were Flo All-Americans and very highly rated. We have had debates about FLO and I don't believe in their ratings. Jensen was actualy committed to Iowa State and Allister flipped her to Minnesota. I think Lowary was supposed to be a big-time pitcher but she was never 100%.
For some reason I thought that Sara G had no other major program offers. I thought I heard her say that herself on a podcast, but I could be wrong. The Lowery situation was unfortunate.

On pitching, I assume the coaches have decided that Jones can benefit the team much more with her bat than her pitching arm. Which makes sense. With her in the lineup (assuming her continued improvement!) that gives us a total of 9 batters that can make contact with college pitching with any regularity at all. Those behind Jones, sometimes including her and Brandt actually, have really struggled with consistent contact.

But my pitching question is do we think she has an arm that can both get her ERA off infinity and maybe allow her some more regular pitching duty in the years ahead? Maybe the ERA tells me what I need to know. Probably they think Fiser and Pease are both physically strong enough by stature to take almost all of the innings without diminishing their velocity and stuff and therefore their spot duty pitcher will be Dueck this year. I am just thinking about next year and without Jones hurling we are really going to have to put our hopes behind Ansleigh Holyfield to be able to college batters out as another pitcher.
 



rugger14

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The first RPI is out. I didn't see it posted. The B1G rankings will probably make it tough to move the RPI up.

18MichiganBig Ten15-8
22MinnesotaBig Ten14-9
38IowaBig Ten17-5
40NorthwesternBig Ten11-12
52IndianaBig Ten9-9
63Ohio St.Big Ten8-9
68IllinoisBig Ten10-11
87WisconsinBig Ten14-10
103NebraskaBig Ten9-14
104PurdueBig Ten15-10
105MarylandBig Ten12-11
128RutgersBig Ten9-14
183Penn St.Big Ten11-14
256Michigan St.Big Ten
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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The first RPI is out. I didn't see it posted. The B1G rankings will probably make it tough to move the RPI up.

18MichiganBig Ten15-8
22MinnesotaBig Ten14-9
38IowaBig Ten17-5
40NorthwesternBig Ten11-12
52IndianaBig Ten9-9
63Ohio St.Big Ten8-9
68IllinoisBig Ten10-11
87WisconsinBig Ten14-10
103NebraskaBig Ten9-14
104PurdueBig Ten15-10
105MarylandBig Ten12-11
128RutgersBig Ten9-14
183Penn St.Big Ten11-14
256Michigan St.Big Ten

I agree. One thing to remember about these first few RPIs is they are the least connected to the real strength of the team that a lot of experts/coaches can see with their eyeball tests. The RPI gets “better” throughout the year as it chews through more data from more games. For instance I certainly expect Wisconsin will move up a bit and Iowa will move down.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Time has caused me to forget how steady of a hitter Ellee Jensen is. She is good. I think Rugger14 is right that she was fairly highly recruited as well, maybe the top get of that class.

Either way, it is nice to have her back. She already has more hits than several of the other hitters that we were trying to plug in the DH/8th spot in the lineup in hopes that their hitting would emerge.
 

Panthadad2

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Time has caused me to forget how steady of a hitter Ellee Jensen is. She is good. I think Rugger14 is right that she was fairly highly recruited as well, maybe the top get of that class.

Either way, it is nice to have her back. She already has more hits than several of the other hitters that we were trying to plug in the DH/8th spot in the lineup in hopes that their hitting would emerge.

I'll play the "what if" game. What if Partain and Jensen were in the 1/2 spots for the whole season so far, with both Denhartog and Brandner in the 3/4 spots? How many more runs would have been scored, or games won?
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I'll play the "what if" game. What if Partain and Jensen were in the 1/2 spots for the whole season so far, with both Denhartog and Brandner in the 3/4 spots? How many more runs would have been scored, or games won?

Well, in that scenario the Gophers go from the 2nd or maybe 3rd best team in the Big Ten and the 16-22nd best team in the country to the best team in the Big Ten and 5-8th best team in the country. Oh well. Having Just Jensen back moves us closer to those lower numbers and a real contender for the Big Ten title(s).

I just hope the season doesn’t get cancelled by CoronaVirus.
 

rugger14

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For some reason I thought that Sara G had no other major program offers. I thought I heard her say that herself on a podcast, but I could be wrong. The Lowery situation was unfortunate.

I think it was on a podcast I listened to at some point. If I remember correctly, Allister got on her early and some of the bigger programs took notice later in her recruiting and tried to get her to flip her commitment.
 

Hrothgar

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Well, in that scenario the Gophers go from the 2nd or maybe 3rd best team in the Big Ten and the 16-22nd best team in the country to the best team in the Big Ten and 5-8th best team in the country. Oh well. Having Just Jensen back moves us closer to those lower numbers and a real contender for the Big Ten title(s).

I just hope the season doesn’t get cancelled by CoronaVirus.
I agree 100% with what you 98 and Panthadad write here. (Is there no hope Brandner comes back this year? As far as I know, nobody has even said what's wrong with her.)
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I agree 100% with what you 98 and Panthadad write here. (Is there no hope Brandner comes back this year? As far as I know, nobody has even said what's wrong with her.)

Unlike almost all injured college players she is not traveling with the team.

I think it must be someone more personal yet tangentially medically-related. I would not expect her back playing Gopher softball until next year, if ever, so as to not get my “hopes” up.

Her power sure was so critical for the lethality of our lineup. A Brandner for Jones switch would be noticeable. I just think having so much less power this year than in the previous 4-6 years we should play speedball and take chances with a lot more steals.
 


Panthadad2

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....Her power sure was so critical for the lethality of our lineup. A Brandner for Jones switch would be noticeable. I just think having so much less power this year than in the previous 4-6 years we should play speedball and take chances with a lot more steals.

In one short year, Brandner became one of my favorite Gophers since I've watched softball. I'm missing her swagger, big baseball-type swing, the small adjustments in the batters box, and underappreciated cat-like reflexes at 1B. Big loss in my book.
 
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GrudgeGuy

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It appears the season - and the careers of many great players (seniors) may now be officially over.
 


Hrothgar

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In one short year, Brandner became one of my favorite Gophers since I've watched softball. I'm missing her swagger, big baseball-type swing, the small adjustments in the batters box, and underappreciated cat-like reflexes at 1B. Big loss in my book.
Not underappreciated by me. I thought Brandner was an all-around better player than Lindaman, her equal at the plate and far better defensively plus an on-field leader.
 

rugger14

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A very sad way to end it all. No championship this year. But memories galore.
Hoping they let the spring sport athletes keep a year of eligibility. They would obviously have to waive some scholly and roster size limits for a year.
 
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Panthadad2

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If I was a current Gopher player (and parent), I'd be extending the Hawaii spring break trip on our own dime. With spring break being extended and all in-person classes being pushed online after that, there is no downside other than cost. Take a longer sun-filled break to soften the blow of getting screwed by the NCAA.
 

rowdaboat

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If I was a current Gopher player (and parent), I'd be extending the Hawaii spring break trip on our own dime. With spring break being extended and all in-person classes being pushed online after that, there is no downside other than cost. Take a longer sun-filled break to soften the blow of getting screwed by the NCAA.
Agreed but too late now, they're flying back today
 





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