The St. Cloud State softball team completed the 2015 season with a 30-27 overall record and a 15-15 mark in conference play. They were a young team in 2015 and not much has changed coming into 2016.
Jessica Goerger, Abby Bunnell, and Alyssa Coletto were the top three hitters on the team and all will be juniors in 2016.
On the mound, the Huskies were led by senior Kelly Franks, but she was backed up by strong play from Senna Francesconi and Megan Hedstrom who are entering their senior and junior years, respectively.
In addition to the youth on the roster in 2015, the Huskies have seven different freshmen ready to take the field in 2016.
This is all important to take into consideration when looking ahead to the 2016 season. Last year’s sophomore and junior classes had to step up into leadership roles, perhaps earlier than they would have elsewhere.
They will now have to take everything they’ve learned from last year’s graduating class and pass it on to the newcomers. With as many great teams in the NSIC as there are, teaching the incoming freshmen what to expect from each opponent will be a huge factor in the Huskies success this season.
So without further ado, let’s get into this St. Cloud State softball season preview. The Huskies graduated five seniors last year including their leading pitcher as mentioned above.
When asked about what the pitching rotation looked like coming into the season, Head Softball Coach Paula U’Ren said, “Right now we have some great competition… Senna Francesconi has the experience over the last couple of years.”
“We have a great freshman, Kate Kopeck, that I think will make a significant impact on our roster,” she added. “And then we have Megan Hedstrom, who was a utility player last year. She played a little bit of second base and in the outfield, and she came to the pitching mound. We’ve really tried to focus on her pitching talents and skills this year because we knew we were losing Kelly Franks.”
U’Ren would go on to mention that players like Rebecca Harps, Kali Kaestner, and Lexie Blonigan might see some time on the mound.
U’Ren concluded by saying that on a scale of 1-10, with one being not comfortable at all and 10 being entirely comfortable with the pitching staff she somewhere between six and eight, “Each one of [our pitchers] have their strengths that we want to be able to go to. Hopefully at the end of the year, a collective effort is going to put us in a position with a strong ERA.”
When asked about the hitters she was most excited to see back in the box, U’Ren said, “Abby Bunnell is a catalyst at the top of the lineup. She has the speed and has really been working on her different tools as a slapper. Her focus and strength is going to put her in an elite class this year from the left side of the plate.”
Among others (U’Ren would name just about everyone in the lineup), U’Ren was excited about players like Libby Bingham, Taige Puetz, and Jordin Novak being able to get back into the batter’s box this season.
“They’ve all been working really hard,” said U’Ren. “I don’t want to leave anybody out, because I feel like our offense has done a really good job. We have a great balance between our speedy kids and our big power players.”
The team will play a grand total of 13 games in the month of February and all of them will be in the Husky Dome.
Let the games begin.