Gopher Softball 2022

rugger14

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What is everyone thinking? After SM, SG, and AF who is the ace who can carry the team? We have been blessed with fantastic pitching for years.

2B, SS, and 3B need to be replaced as well. It should be interesting.
 

MNMaroonMom

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I would have to assume for next year it has to be Autumn although I don't know if she will be able to give as many innings that Amber did. I would think Ava would be getting more innings. Not sure what is coming in for pitching. Agree curious to see how the infield plays out.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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A2022 opening day lineup:

1 Jensen (7)
2 Den Hartog (8)
3 Evans (9)
4 Kinch (2)
5 Cox (DH)
6 Costa (5)
7 Chavez (6)
8 Dray/Hansen (3)
9 Strelow (3)

Pitchers: Pease, Leavitt, Dueck, Hollifield, Hostettler, Jones

I assume much more pitching by committee next year. I don’t know if the younger pitchers are ready to go 7 innings, multiple times through opposing lineups, showing something either different or overpowering.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Honestly, it seems to me that our ultimate success for next year (2022) is largely dependent upon what happens this off-season at Ann Arbor and Evanston. I don’t see us up there with Michigan if Beaubien returns. And I see Northwestern as a likely second-in-the-B1G team if Rachel Lewis returns. If both do not return and our less-experienced players really step it up, we could make it interesting in the Big Ten tournament.

This will be the first off-season in many offseasons where I don’t see us in at least complete parity with Michigan for the next season... but it should still be a good Gopher team next year; likely no worse than third in the Big Ten, which is pretty good considering the talent and experience we will have lost.
 

rwlarson

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Honestly, it seems to me that our ultimate success for next year (2022) is largely dependent upon what happens this off-season at Ann Arbor and Evanston. I don’t see us up there with Michigan if Beaubien returns. And I see Northwestern as a likely second-in-the-B1G team if Rachel Lewis returns. If both do not return and our less-experienced players really step it up, we could make it interesting in the Big Ten tournament.

This will be the first off-season in many offseasons where I don’t see us in at least complete parity with Michigan for the next season... but it should still be a good Gopher team next year; likely no worse than third in the Big Ten, which is pretty good considering the talent and experience we will have lost.
I will be surprised if we don’t see 1-2 transfers out replaced with transfers in this year, as in most years. If that happens, hopefully we pick up an impact player or two.

As we saw vs UCLA, Piper understands the inner-workings of the hitter-pitcher matchup. It was gutsy not throwing Fiser, but Pease pitched brilliantly. Hats off to her! Next year, Piper will have a lot of pitchers she can use to exploit those matchup advantages she sees. The only thing we really are missing is a competent lefty.
 


rugger14

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A2022 opening day lineup:

1 Jensen (7)
2 Den Hartog (8)
3 Evans (9)
4 Kinch (2)
5 Cox (DH)
6 Costa (5)
7 Chavez (6)
8 Dray/Hansen (3)
9 Strelow (3)

Pitchers: Pease, Leavitt, Dueck, Hollifield, Hostettler, Jones

I assume much more pitching by committee next year. I don’t know if the younger pitchers are ready to go 7 innings, multiple times through opposing lineups, showing something either different or overpowering.
I like the idea of playing two at 1B and nobody at 2B. Unique defensive strategy!
 

rowdaboat

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Really could use a power bat transfer. Expecting 3 or 4 along with Peterson to transfer out since playing time got logjammed by extra covid years
 


ClassOf98Gopher

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Really could use a power bat transfer. Expecting 3 or 4 along with Peterson to transfer out since playing time got logjammed by extra covid years

I am just not seeing this “transfer-in” thing happening much this coming summer/fall - although it is certainly been true that we have looked to transfers over the last few years, but our roster size was smaller back then.

To get someone who has demonstrated power at the college level to transfer here, there are really only two things those transfers are looking for: playing time and money (read:scholarships); with the second thing being a lot more important.

Our 2022 roster is presently set up to be 21, which is perfect in my opinion. I observed this year that a 23/24 roster size is just too big. Players who expect (and probably deserve) time are not getting it.

So to open up money/scholarships, we would have to get players that are presently on scholarships to transfer out. I just don’t see it.

But, I will be tracking the Transfer Tracker regularly to see if anyone joins Peterson in transferring out, thereby getting our roster size down to 20 or 19 may cause us to try to being in a transfer - I would assume the priority would be defensive capability at SS or 2b who is not requiring scholarship money.
 



rwlarson

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I am just not seeing this “transfer-in” thing happening much this coming summer/fall - although it is certainly been true that we have looked to transfers over the last few years, but our roster size was smaller back then.

To get someone who has demonstrated power at the college level to transfer here, there are really only two things those transfers are looking for: playing time and money (read:scholarships); with the second thing being a lot more important.

Our 2022 roster is presently set up to be 21, which is perfect in my opinion. I observed this year that a 23/24 roster size is just too big. Players who expect (and probably deserve) time are not getting it.

So to open up money/scholarships, we would have to get players that are presently on scholarships to transfer out. I just don’t see it.

But, I will be tracking the Transfer Tracker regularly to see if anyone joins Peterson in transferring out, thereby getting our roster size down to 20 or 19 may cause us to try to being in a transfer - I would assume the priority would be defensive capability at SS or 2b who is not requiring scholarship money.
Keep an eye on Arizona State. If we have a chance at an impact hitter with some pop, that might be our best chance.
 

Gopher68

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A2022 opening day lineup:

1 Jensen (7)
2 Den Hartog (8)
3 Evans (9)
4 Kinch (2)
5 Cox (DH)
6 Costa (5)
7 Chavez (6)
8 Dray/Hansen (3)
9 Strelow (3)

Pitchers: Pease, Leavitt, Dueck, Hollifield, Hostettler, Jones

I assume much more pitching by committee next year. I don’t know if the younger pitchers are ready to go 7 innings, multiple times through opposing lineups, showing something either different or overpowering.
Jenna Beckstrom may challenge for an IF spot.
 

rugger14

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I am just not seeing this “transfer-in” thing happening much this coming summer/fall - although it is certainly been true that we have looked to transfers over the last few years, but our roster size was smaller back then.

To get someone who has demonstrated power at the college level to transfer here, there are really only two things those transfers are looking for: playing time and money (read:scholarships); with the second thing being a lot more important.

Our 2022 roster is presently set up to be 21, which is perfect in my opinion. I observed this year that a 23/24 roster size is just too big. Players who expect (and probably deserve) time are not getting it.

So to open up money/scholarships, we would have to get players that are presently on scholarships to transfer out. I just don’t see it.

But, I will be tracking the Transfer Tracker regularly to see if anyone joins Peterson in transferring out, thereby getting our roster size down to 20 or 19 may cause us to try to being in a transfer - I would assume the priority would be defensive capability at SS or 2b who is not requiring scholarship money.
We always carried 18 on the roster. Allister got that increased to 20 as far as I know. COVID made this season an exception. I believe the program is funded for 20 players to travel with the team. Allister and Trachsel did not keep extra players on the roster who didn't travel. Maybe Ritter would do otherwise.
 




ClassOf98Gopher

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Who is Peterson? Guess I missed something....
Olivia Peterson. She is presently the only player that started the year on the Gopher roster that is on the D1 Softball transfer tracker.

Now that this season is over it will be interesting to see if any other Gophers join her. I am doubtful. A couple pitchers we have on the roster appear to me to be on one hand, the most likely to be really itching for live playing time. But on the other hand, all the pitchers on staff must be looking at what we are all looking at.: 250 innings in a full season formerly occupied for years by Amber Fiser just opened up. Each one of them I am sure thinks they can complete for their fair share of those innings.

And, because we all know pitching is the key question mark going into next year, we know Ritter does too. Therefore, I would be surprised if Ritter forces any of her four currently scheduled non-Pease pitchers for 2022 out of the program because she can’t know for sure who of them can perform best (alongside Pease) by the time of the Big Ten tournament. That assessment is something she probably needs to see in live action in the early spring of 2022.
 

Hrothgar

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After watching college softball for the past 8 years, I feel BigTen softball is not very strong on a nat'l level. The NCAA could've chosen 7-8 BigTen teams for the 2021 tournament & not a single one would've won a regional. MI & MN put up a fight against the odds, but outstanding teams overcome the odds. Michigan newspapers have pointed out that MI won the last 3 Big titles, but they ignore that part of that is a gift of BIG schedule makers (about 3/4 of MI's Big losses in 2021 were against BIG West teams. MI mainly beats up on weak East division teams.) Michigan newspapers do point out, however, that it's been 5 years since MI won a regional. Even if Storako & Beaubien return in 2022 (Beaubien for what, a 6 or 7th year, it seems like?), the scenario will likely repeat itself; they'll run into the UCLAs or Oklahomas of the world and lose out.
My point is: If MN wants to be the program we all want, that is, win the BIG and move ahead in the NCAA), they need to somehow land some superior-talent recruits. Despite some arguments, I think it is possible. IMO MN's team on the field in 2021 was as good as MI's & maybe better. It was the better MI pitching that made the difference. MN can make up that difference, with good luck & some great recruiting---against the odds! That's the coaches' job. Otherwise we're going to be slogging along in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place in the BIG forever. MN's fanbase is great and deserves a big-time winner. I think it can be done, but only with exceptional recruiting. Correct me if I'm way, way off base.
 

FormerFatOL

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After watching college softball for the past 8 years, I feel BigTen softball is not very strong on a nat'l level. The NCAA could've chosen 7-8 BigTen teams for the 2021 tournament & not a single one would've won a regional. MI & MN put up a fight against the odds, but outstanding teams overcome the odds. Michigan newspapers have pointed out that MI won the last 3 Big titles, but they ignore that part of that is a gift of BIG schedule makers (about 3/4 of MI's Big losses in 2021 were against BIG West teams. MI mainly beats up on weak East division teams.) Michigan newspapers do point out, however, that it's been 5 years since MI won a regional. Even if Storako & Beaubien return in 2022 (Beaubien for what, a 6 or 7th year, it seems like?), the scenario will likely repeat itself; they'll run into the UCLAs or Oklahomas of the world and lose out.
My point is: If MN wants to be the program we all want, that is, win the BIG and move ahead in the NCAA), they need to somehow land some superior-talent recruits. Despite some arguments, I think it is possible. IMO MN's team on the field in 2021 was as good as MI's & maybe better. It was the better MI pitching that made the difference. MN can make up that difference, with good luck & some great recruiting---against the odds! That's the coaches' job. Otherwise we're going to be slogging along in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place in the BIG forever. MN's fanbase is great and deserves a big-time winner. I think it can be done, but only with exceptional recruiting. Correct me if I'm way, way off base.

It depends on the regional. I think MI definitely (with their pitching this year) and MN maybe would have had the chance to win a handful of regionals this year, especially at home. UCLA and WA weren't those. Both teams would have challenged in Northwestern's regional at Kentucky. I'll add Tennessee, Mizzou, Georgia, Louisiana and Tempe. In other words, the best BG10 teams have been solidly near the top 16 but only bubble Cinderella teams, at best, as super regional winners in most years.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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After watching college softball for the past 8 years, I feel BigTen softball is not very strong on a nat'l level. The NCAA could've chosen 7-8 BigTen teams for the 2021 tournament & not a single one would've won a regional. MI & MN put up a fight against the odds, but outstanding teams overcome the odds. Michigan newspapers have pointed out that MI won the last 3 Big titles, but they ignore that part of that is a gift of BIG schedule makers (about 3/4 of MI's Big losses in 2021 were against BIG West teams. MI mainly beats up on weak East division teams.) Michigan newspapers do point out, however, that it's been 5 years since MI won a regional. Even if Storako & Beaubien return in 2022 (Beaubien for what, a 6 or 7th year, it seems like?), the scenario will likely repeat itself; they'll run into the UCLAs or Oklahomas of the world and lose out.
My point is: If MN wants to be the program we all want, that is, win the BIG and move ahead in the NCAA), they need to somehow land some superior-talent recruits. Despite some arguments, I think it is possible. IMO MN's team on the field in 2021 was as good as MI's & maybe better. It was the better MI pitching that made the difference. MN can make up that difference, with good luck & some great recruiting---against the odds! That's the coaches' job. Otherwise we're going to be slogging along in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place in the BIG forever. MN's fanbase is great and deserves a big-time winner. I think it can be done, but only with exceptional recruiting. Correct me if I'm way, way off base.
I am sure I will get pushback on this but I honestly believe the three recruits coming into the program this fall (Leavitt, Chavez, and Hostettler) and the three scheduled to come into the program next fall (Oakland, Leschber, and Schwartz) are probably the strongest set of recruits (on average) that the Gopher
Program has ever brought in. There may be 4-5 nationally ranked blue chippers in that list - and I am sorry but our program is not used to doing that in our recruiting results.

In the past, for our teams to have got where they got, we have had to get some luck in finding very talented kids that were passed over (Groenewagen and Lindaman for example) combined with strong player development and of all our players, and finally our non-full-scholarship local kids have luckily become solid role-players. That has been the formula to date.
 

MRJ

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Not sure what to make of next year. The team will clearly be in transition and I have questions about the team across the board.

I really like that we'll have Autumn Pease for another year. Maybe Dueck becomes the No. 2? Or maybe one of this year's freshmen or next year's? It's honestly anyone's guess.

Offensively, this team needs tons of work. Also need to work out virtually every infield spot and probably a few in the outfield as well.

In other words, plenty of questions with answers forthcoming in the fall and spring.

It'll probably be the first time in awhile I'm not expecting big things from softball.
 


dlw4gophers

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After watching college softball for the past 8 years, I feel BigTen softball is not very strong on a nat'l level. The NCAA could've chosen 7-8 BigTen teams for the 2021 tournament & not a single one would've won a regional. MI & MN put up a fight against the odds, but outstanding teams overcome the odds. Michigan newspapers have pointed out that MI won the last 3 Big titles, but they ignore that part of that is a gift of BIG schedule makers (about 3/4 of MI's Big losses in 2021 were against BIG West teams. MI mainly beats up on weak East division teams.) Michigan newspapers do point out, however, that it's been 5 years since MI won a regional. Even if Storako & Beaubien return in 2022 (Beaubien for what, a 6 or 7th year, it seems like?), the scenario will likely repeat itself; they'll run into the UCLAs or Oklahomas of the world and lose out.
My point is: If MN wants to be the program we all want, that is, win the BIG and move ahead in the NCAA), they need to somehow land some superior-talent recruits. Despite some arguments, I think it is possible. IMO MN's team on the field in 2021 was as good as MI's & maybe better. It was the better MI pitching that made the difference. MN can make up that difference, with good luck & some great recruiting---against the odds! That's the coaches' job. Otherwise we're going to be slogging along in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place in the BIG forever. MN's fanbase is great and deserves a big-time winner. I think it can be done, but only with exceptional recruiting. Correct me if I'm way, way off base.
2019 had three Big10 teams win regionals. Minnesota going to CWWS. NW knocked off Oklahoma one game in the super regional. That seems pretty competitive on a national level.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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2019 had three Big10 teams win regionals.

Three Big Ten teams hosted regionals. Michigan did get knocked off by JMU in the if necessary game of the regional.

The top Big Ten team(s) should be competing to get out of the regionals and on to the Supers. That should be a realistic goal, every year.
 

Hrothgar

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2019 had three Big10 teams win regionals. Minnesota going to CWWS. NW knocked off Oklahoma one game in the super regional. That seems pretty competitive on a national level.
A good point. (A minor thought, though; in 2019, didn't Michigan lose to George Mason in MI's own regional, in games 6 & 7?)
 

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Just because I love softball especially gopher softball and softball conversation. Does anyone think its possible that Natalie could play shortstop next year? I know she played it in high school and she is so athletic.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Just because I love softball especially gopher softball and softball conversation. Does anyone think its possible that Natalie could play shortstop next year? I know she played it in high school and she is so athletic.

Yeah, I think it is “possible” for the reasons you stated. In addition, it appears clear to me that they have more experienced depth at outfield than infield. I am sure Densen and Jones (if Jones is not regularly pitching) are going to want much more playing time next year to go along with Jensen and Evans who appear to have certain regular outfield spots.

But, I think they would prefer to leave her at Center Field (the other position besides SS that is usually occupied by a team’s best athlete) if it is clear-enough that Kayla Chavez has the potential to be impactful, both swinging the bat and fielding, as a collegiate Freshman. That would yield Strelow and Chavez as our middle infielders - Strelow could certainly play either 2nd or SS.

Finally, I think Riley Costa is a near lock for Third Base next year. At least, they will give her every single opportunity to have that spot.
 

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Yeah, I think it is “possible” for the reasons you stated. In addition, it appears clear to me that they have more experienced depth at outfield than infield. I am sure Densen and Jones (if Jones is not regularly pitching) are going to want much more playing time next year to go along with Jensen and Evans who appear to have certain regular outfield spots.

But, I think they would prefer to leave her at Center Field (the other position besides SS that is usually occupied by a team’s best athlete) if it is clear-enough that Kayla Chavez has the potential to be impactful, both swinging the bat and fielding, as a collegiate Freshman. That would yield Strelow and Chavez as our middle infielders - Strelow could certainly play either 2nd or SS.

Finally, I think Riley Costa is a near lock for Third Base next year. At least, they will give her every single opportunity to have that spot.
The fall “season” will be fascinating this year with all the competition for those infield spots. The only thing that makes me pause about Chavez at SS is why didn’t she play more SS in club ball? She has a quick release but her arm isn’t as strong as Strelow. Can either of them make all the plays with enough consistency? Is Beckstrom ready to assume one of those middle IF positions? I agree that if Costa starts it will probably be at 3B. It seems Strelow’s arm might be wasted at 2B but if she can turn the DP well she might be an asset there.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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The fall “season” will be fascinating this year with all the competition for those infield spots. The only thing that makes me pause about Chavez at SS is why didn’t she play more SS in club ball? She has a quick release but her arm isn’t as strong as Strelow. Can either of them make all the plays with enough consistency? Is Beckstrom ready to assume one of those middle IF positions? I agree that if Costa starts it will probably be at 3B. It seems Strelow’s arm might be wasted at 2B but if she can turn the DP well she might be an asset there.

All of the above rwlarson points make a ton of sense to me. I will add to those questions the following: can Beckstrom hit college level pitching? Can Chavez? The hitting side of the hitting/fielding equation is also obviously critical. If they can hit, it will simplify the Gophers infield question for Spring of 2022 a lot.

We saw enough of Costa to see she can place the bat on the ball and isn’t a strikeout machine, so I feel fairly confident.
 


ClassOf98Gopher

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I saw on another site that Hope Brandner has entered the transfer portal.
I am almost happy for that. To me, that she is healthy enough to play softball again. I thought there was a good chance she had hung up her cleats.

She was a darn good player... but after two years, our Gopher team needed to move on regardless.
 

Hrothgar

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I saw on another site that Hope Brandner has entered the transfer portal.
If I were Ritter I would do everything humanly possible (within the rules, of course) to get Brandner back here. IMO she & Groenewegen are the 2 best all-around players MN has had, period. Brandner was as good a hitter as Lindaman even, and a better defensive player.
 

Roland Brooks

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Yep a Bradner type is what they are missing a player who can drive the ball and stretch the field.
 




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