Gopher Softball 2022

Hrothgar

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There has been some discussion on pitching next season. However; when it comes to batting, if Strelow, Chavez and Kinch all come back and start, one would hope their hitting can improve. I believe DenHartog and Evans would be the only 300+ players returning to the lineup. Any word on Hansen or Costa returning and/or playing next season?

Piper more or less said it in one of her recent game interviews, the bats and the pitching haven't come together every game all season.....they just haven't.
Here comes more discussion of pitching next season: It's no accident that the 2 BIG tourney finalists both had depth of reliable pitchers and they used them confidently. Teams relying on one ace alone (WI, OSU, NW, for instance) were good but not good enough in the end, sometimes boiling down to just one or two pitches in the crunch. The Gophers need to build not just depth of pitching but depth of really good pitching.
 


4EverAGopher

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I personally thought some pretty talented teams showed up for the tourney mentally unprepared to play, notably IL & MN + WI v. NW). Something the Gophers could think about.
I agree a team needs to mentally showup for every game. I just have no idea how one is to accomplish that. Again, you would think that every player would mentally show up, because they "love to play softball and want to win". But we all know it just isn't that easy for today's youth in some games.
 
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Gopher68

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I personally thought some pretty talented teams showed up for the tourney mentally unprepared to play, notably IL & MN + WI v. NW). Something the Gophers could think about.
I'm not sure how you arrive at MN not being mentally prepared against WI. Schwartz was lights out during the double header against MN. They just had trouble making solid contact against her. When they did, it was hit right at someone.
 

ecoperson

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I'm not sure how you arrive at MN not being mentally prepared against WI. Schwartz was lights out during the double header against MN. They just had trouble making solid contact against her. When they did, it was hit right at someone.
Sports psychology is an interesting subject. I tend to think that it mostly affects individual player performance. While negativity is contagious, I have not heard of any cancers in the locker room.

Sports fans often turn to sports cliche subjects like 'mentally preparedness' to help soothe the grief that they feel when their team loses when, in fact, sometimes the other team was just better that game.

A butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing and the Gophers win. If a bird eats said butterfly before it can flap and the Gophers lose!
 


Hrothgar

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I'm not sure how you arrive at MN not being mentally prepared against WI. Schwartz was lights out during the double header against MN. They just had trouble making solid contact against her. When they did, it was hit right at someone.
Mentally prepared or not prepared? As one poster commented, WI studied scouting reports of MN from the DH and adjusted their mental and AB approach for the tourney game, which meant scoring early and playing from ahead on the scoreboard. I saw no evidence of any different scouting approach by MN. They looked like they were going through the motions uninspired. Bad body language gives confidence to a team's opponents.
 

Gopher68

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Mentally prepared or not prepared? As one poster commented, WI studied scouting reports of MN from the DH and adjusted their mental and AB approach for the tourney game, which meant scoring early and playing from ahead on the scoreboard. I saw no evidence of any different scouting approach by MN. They looked like they were going through the motions uninspired. Bad body language gives confidence to a team's opponents.
OK. After winning a double header, what changes would you make to your approach? WI lost a double header, they needed to make changes.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Given all the other conference tournaments that happened this week, they mostly went the way the Gophers needed to have the best shot at good news tomorrow night. It looks like there is a good chance that they will be playing softball next weekend.

One thing that is clear to me tonight is that they really played a tough schedule top to bottom. Not even focusing on the Oklahoma, Stanford and Arizona State games that we played let’s talk about the very quality teams from the non-power 5 conferences that we played this year that are VERY good. I am talking about conference champions Grand Canyon University, Central Florida, and South Dakota State Univisity and maybe Longwood. Also Northern Iowa and DePaul, Charlotte, and Wichita State were right there close to conference championships. And of course there is Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Georgia who we played multiple times. And I almost every one of those games above, we played against those other teams’ ace (or co-ace) pitcher.

Yeah, we lost a lot of games, and that was not as fun, but we didn’t have a lot of pushovers on this schedule this year at all. It was such a deep schedule.
 

Hrothgar

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OK. After winning a double header, what changes would you make to your approach? WI lost a double header, they needed to make changes.
MN was losing hopelessly to WI, too. (Strange a pitchers' duel at 1-0 could seem so one-sided.) MN also needed to make changes. I saw none. I would've done this:

A) In game 3 v. NW, MN started Pease; she gave up 3 runs immediately & the game was essentially over after only one half inning. In the NCAA, MN again started Pease v. WI; she gave up one run in inning one & that lone run was all WI needed. Like they say about a dance, you go home with the one that brung you there. In the DH v. Wi, Leavitt pitched 10 innings and won both games. So I would have started the pitcher that brung me to 2 wins over WI, i. e., Leavitt. Why in the world would Ritter not start Leavitt again v. WI? Too often this year Pease has needed a couple innings to get loosened up in a game. In crucial single elimination games, that's too late. The game will already be decided by the time the pitcher is loose.

B) Also, Cox got the deciding hit v. WI in a 1-0 game the week before. I would have started her hitting second rather than Jensen and before DenHartog and Evans. Jensen's BA has dropped steadily the second half of the season. Jensen in her old form? Yes! As she's hitting now? No way. And if I did start Jensen, I sure as heck would've used Cox to PH for Jensen in inning 7 of game 3 v. NW. I would've had Cox in the NCAA game v. WI from the beginning and let her see Schwartz 4 times.

C) In the NCAA, I'd have had MN hitters working the counts really hard v. Schwartz inning after inning. That's what MI did against her in the next game and they handled her ok. That game seemed a given for MI as it moved along.

D) I'd have had MN hitters shorten their swings v. Schwartz and hit more defensively and swing less for the fences (since I believe Schwartz is a drop ball pitcher), to keep balls in play and force WI infielders to make more difficult plays. After all, for most of the game, MN needed only one run to pull even. In the final, NEBR did to Storako what MI did to WI's Schwartz --- they kept the opposing pitchers working hard until their one hot hitter got her chances to swing for the fences and make it pay off. Maybe MI and NEBR have smarter hitters or better hitting coaches than MN? Well, you asked me. That's my answer, off the cuff. Correct me if I'm wrong. All I know for sure is that the MN team that showed up v. WI in the NCAA wasn't the same one as in the DH. What happened?
 



let'sbeclear

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MN was losing hopelessly to WI, too. (Strange a pitchers' duel at 1-0 could seem so one-sided.) MN also needed to make changes. I saw none. I would've done this:

A) In game 3 v. NW, MN started Pease; she gave up 3 runs immediately & the game was essentially over after only one half inning. In the NCAA, MN again started Pease v. WI; she gave up one run in inning one & that lone run was all WI needed. Like they say about a dance, you go home with the one that brung you there. In the DH v. Wi, Leavitt pitched 10 innings and won both games. So I would have started the pitcher that brung me to 2 wins over WI, i. e., Leavitt. Why in the world would Ritter not start Leavitt again v. WI? Too often this year Pease has needed a couple innings to get loosened up in a game. In crucial single elimination games, that's too late. The game will already be decided by the time the pitcher is loose.

B) Also, Cox got the deciding hit v. WI in a 1-0 game the week before. I would have started her hitting second rather than Jensen and before DenHartog and Evans. Jensen's BA has dropped steadily the second half of the season. Jensen in her old form? Yes! As she's hitting now? No way. And if I did start Jensen, I sure as heck would've used Cox to PH for Jensen in inning 7 of game 3 v. NW. I would've had Cox in the NCAA game v. WI from the beginning and let her see Schwartz 4 times.

C) In the NCAA, I'd have had MN hitters working the counts really hard v. Schwartz inning after inning. That's what MI did against her in the next game and they handled her ok. That game seemed a given for MI as it moved along.

D) I'd have had MN hitters shorten their swings v. Schwartz and hit more defensively and swing less for the fences (since I believe Schwartz is a drop ball pitcher), to keep balls in play and force WI infielders to make more difficult plays. After all, for most of the game, MN needed only one run to pull even. In the final, NEBR did to Storako what MI did to WI's Schwartz --- they kept the opposing pitchers working hard until their one hot hitter got her chances to swing for the fences and make it pay off. Maybe MI and NEBR have smarter hitters or better hitting coaches than MN? Well, you asked me. That's my answer, off the cuff. Correct me if I'm wrong. All I know for sure is that the MN team that showed up v. WI in the NCAA wasn't the same one as in the DH. What happened?
I'm assuming when you wrote in point C, "In the NCAA," you meant in the Big Ten tournament. If so, in that game against the Gophers, Schwartz threw 98 pitches to 25 batters, or 3.92 pitches per batter. In the Michigan game that followed the Gopher sweep of Wisconsin, Schwartz threw 112 pitches to 29 batters, or 3.86 pitches per batter. So your point confuses me.

Of course, maybe you're saying that Michigan batters worked the count against Schwartz in the early innings, and that led to being able to swing more freely in later innings, thereby taking the overall pitch per batter figure down. But if that's not what you're saying happened, the data simply doesn't back you up on this point.
 
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Hrothgar

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I'm assuming when you wrote in point C, "In the NCAA," you meant in the Big Ten tournament. If so, in that game against the Gophers, Schwartz threw 98 pitches to 25 batters, or 3.92 pitches per batter. In the Michigan game that followed the Gopher sweep of Wisconsin, Swartch threw 112 pitches to 29 batters, or 3.86 pitches per batter. So your point confuses me.

Of course, maybe you're saying that Michigan batters worked the count against Schwartz in the early innings, and that led to being able to swing more freely in later innings, thereby taking the overall pitch per batter figure down. But if that's not what you're saying happened, the data simply don't back you up on this point.
You're no doubt right about the data. I'm not a quantitative evaluator, more of a qualitative one. Pure data is fine, just that it doesn't hit home much with me. Stats is one course I hated in college. I see the battle between pitcher and hitter as more of a mind game. My subjective response was, yes, the Michigan batters worked Schwartz better than MN's did. I saw the psychology of key at bats working to the MI batters' favor as the game progressed. I didn't see the MN batters "winning" the ABs v. Schwartz. I thought enough MI batters did so to make a difference. I don't have any statistics to prove it, though.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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You're no doubt right about the data. I'm not a quantitative evaluator, more of a qualitative one. Pure data is fine, just that it doesn't hit home much with me. Stats is one course I hated in college. I see the battle between pitcher and hitter as more of a mind game. My subjective response was, yes, the Michigan batters worked Schwartz better than MN's did. I saw the psychology of key at bats working to the MI batters' favor as the game progressed. I didn't see the MN batters "winning" the ABs v. Schwartz. I thought enough MI batters did so to make a difference. I don't have any statistics to prove it, though.
I think we need to consider the possibility that Schwartz was just a little sharper against Minnesota vis-a-vis Michigan… just even more in the groove of seeing her pitch and making it happen off her fingertips to hit her spots.

I think that happens to pitchers where some games they are really feeling good about what they are doing and other games where it is going fine… but just not as great.
 

Gopher68

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You're no doubt right about the data. I'm not a quantitative evaluator, more of a qualitative one. Pure data is fine, just that it doesn't hit home much with me. Stats is one course I hated in college. I see the battle between pitcher and hitter as more of a mind game. My subjective response was, yes, the Michigan batters worked Schwartz better than MN's did. I saw the psychology of key at bats working to the MI batters' favor as the game progressed. I didn't see the MN batters "winning" the ABs v. Schwartz. I thought enough MI batters did so to make a difference. I don't have any statistics to prove it, though.
Are you referring to the final regular season weekend? In the B1G Tournament, WI played NU, not MI.
 






ClassOf98Gopher

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In with Oklahoma region
I seriously think this is great for us. Playing at UCLA last year was a great end of the 2021 season. Playing Oklahoma this year will be very memorable for our players - playing on the big time stages. Big time stages are great for recruiting as well.
 


rowdaboat

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Draft kings odds for champ

Oklahoma -160 (I got them at +300 preseason)
Florida state +600
UCLA +700
Alabama +900
Arkansas, Virginia Tech +1000
Florida +1200
Arixona state +1400
Oklahoma state +1600 (best value)
Duke, Washington +2000
Northwestern, Tennessee +2500
Kentucky +3000
Clemson, Texas, sdsu, Michigan, Georgia +4000
...
Gophers +10000
 



dlw4gophers

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What happened to Jordy. Saw they lost 4-3 to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship
 


Hrothgar

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Are you referring to the final regular season weekend? In the B1G Tournament, WI played NU, not MI.
Yeah, I guess I screwed up on that. I apologize. It was mainly due to me being POd at the Gophers not handling a team they're more talented than IMO.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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A reasonable goal for this coming weekend is two wins for the Gophers. I think we can beat a vary talented Texas A&M team at least once in two games against them and I know Prairie View is terrible - the worst team in the tournament.
 
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rwlarson

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A reasonable goal for this coming weekend is two wins for the Gophers. I think we can beat a vary talented Texas A&M team at least once in two games against them and I know Prairie View is terrible - the worst team in the tournament.
I was just happy to get a bid and keep the 9-year streak going. Knowing you are going to a program that will be in the NCAAs every year (even in off years) attracts recruits that can will get this program back on the upward trajectory Allister had us on.

Speaking of Allister, I wonder how she feels about being dispatched back to the scene of the NCAAs most egregious crime — Tuscaloosa 2017. Alabama has hosted every year since 2005 and still hasn’t lost a single regional GAME since 2007 (thanks in part no doubt to excessively rowdy fans and intimidated umps).

While it sucks to get sent to the #2 and #1 overall seeds in successive years, hard to feel too sorry for the Gophers when Texas A&M has had to go to Norman two years in a row.

While Texas A&M is technically the 2-seed in this region, I would argue that objectively we had the better resume if you look at A&M’s road/neutral vs home performance against top teams. Their record away from Davis Diamond is uninspiring to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, they have some excellent hitters and good pitchers, but they don’t have a lot of depth and their fielding can be pretty atrocious. Their pitchers don’t have great control so we need to be aggressive but discerning in the box, draw some walks, and make their defense work.
 

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A reasonable goal for this coming weekend is two wins for the Gophers. I think we can beat a vary talented Texas A&M team at least once in two games against them and I know Prairie View is terrible - the worst team in the tournament.
I can’t recall ever being in a regional where you knew that even if you lost the first game, you weren’t going 0-2. I believe Prairie View’s RPI is in the 280s, which is in the bottom 10% of all teams.

So, while going 2-0 to start any regional is always the goal, Minnesota and Texas A&M will almost certainly be playing twice, so to get to the regional final you either have to go 2-0 against them if you beat them in the first game, or 1-1 if you lose in the first game.

But maybe, just maybe, coming off a loss, which they will avenge against Prairie View, and possibly without Bahl this weekend (although Trautwein and May are also great pitchers) and with their fans lamenting the fact that their hitting numbers have been steadily declining the second half of the year, maybe the upset of the century is possible. Tough-minded players always think they have a chance to win no matter the odds, right down to the last out. That’s the mentality we take to Oklahoma.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I can’t recall ever being in a regional where you knew that even if you lost the first game, you weren’t going 0-2. I believe Prairie View’s RPI is in the 280s, which is in the bottom 10% of all teams.

So, while going 2-0 to start any regional is always the goal, Minnesota and Texas A&M will almost certainly be playing twice, so to get to the regional final you either have to go 2-0 against them if you beat them in the first game, or 1-1 if you lose in the first game.

But maybe, just maybe, coming off a loss, which they will avenge against Prairie View, and possibly without Bahl this weekend (although Trautwein and May are also great pitchers) and with their fans lamenting the fact that their hitting numbers have been steadily declining the second half of the year, maybe the upset of the century is possible. Tough-minded players always think they have a chance to win no matter the odds, right down to the last out. That’s the mentality we take to Oklahoma.
If we win game 1 against A&M, I would seriously consider starting Hollifield in our second game against Oklahoma (baptism by fire!). Just let her go as long as she can. We have to assume we are playing 4-5 games this weekend regardless. Use her the smartest way possible. The goal is to somehow get to those last two games of the bracket with A&M and Prairie View eliminated.
 

Hrothgar

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Prairie View may be
I was just happy to get a bid and keep the 9-year streak going. Knowing you are going to a program that will be in the NCAAs every year (even in off years) attracts recruits that can will get this program back on the upward trajectory Allister had us on.

Speaking of Allister, I wonder how she feels about being dispatched back to the scene of the NCAAs most egregious crime — Tuscaloosa 2017. Alabama has hosted every year since 2005 and still hasn’t lost a single regional GAME since 2007 (thanks in part no doubt to excessively rowdy fans and intimidated umps).

While it sucks to get sent to the #2 and #1 overall seeds in successive years, hard to feel too sorry for the Gophers when Texas A&M has had to go to Norman two years in a row.

While Texas A&M is technically the 2-seed in this region, I would argue that objectively we had the better resume if you look at A&M’s road/neutral vs home performance against top teams. Their record away from Davis Diamond is uninspiring to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, they have some excellent hitters and good pitchers, but they don’t have a lot of depth and their fielding can be pretty atrocious. Their pitchers don’t have great control so we need to be aggressive but discerning in the box, draw some walks, and make their defense work
Speaking of Alabama, didn't Okla State or some team like that sneak into Tuscaloosa a few years ago and beat ALA? Or was that a super regional? I think Allister & Groenewegen were let down not so much by ALA's 'fixing,' as some called it, and the lousy umpiring, but most of all by Gophers hitters, who failed to produce a single run in 2 games v. ALA. Speaking of Prairie View being "the worst team in the tournament," I hold my breath with the Gophers; they've proven they can beat almost anybody and also lose to anybody. They beat top teams in the BIG (NW, MI, IL), but also lost to lowly Iowa, the worst team in the BIG, incredibly blowing an 8-2 lead in the space of 4 innings.
 

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Prairie View may be

Speaking of Alabama, didn't Okla State or some team like that sneak into Tuscaloosa a few years ago and beat ALA? Or was that a super regional? I think Allister & Groenewegen were let down not so much by ALA's 'fixing,' as some called it, and the lousy umpiring, but most of all by Gophers hitters, who failed to produce a single run in 2 games v. ALA. Speaking of Prairie View being "the worst team in the tournament," I hold my breath with the Gophers; they've proven they can beat almost anybody and also lose to anybody. They beat top teams in the BIG (NW, MI, IL), but also lost to lowly Iowa, the worst team in the BIG, incredibly blowing an 8-2 lead in the space of 4 innings.
If I remember correctly, I think OK State beat FSU to get the WCWS the same year as the Gophers.
 




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