Gopher softball 2021

ClassOf98Gopher

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Yes! Kiana Jones is pitching! Maybe she can now get off of her career “infinity” ERA.

I am seriously interested in what she can add on the pitching mound.

Rough, but not a total meltdown. That is an inning for Jones to build a college career on.
 

MRJ

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I'll just reiterate what I said earlier: There isn't enough time to simply go through the motions half of the time, either mentally or physically, which they did a whole lot of this weekend.
 

Hrothgar

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Pretty impossible to disagree with the disappointment expressed in all our posts. The Gophers hitting lineup performs like an average high school team at best. This is the same mediocre uninspired play as in last year's curtailed season. Given the hapless opponents this weekend, the team should have gone 6-0, if they were properly involved in the series. How could a good team possibly have lost those 3 games? Wasting Amber's and Autumn's pitching is a sad thing. With the kind of Gopher hitting we're used to Fiser pitched well enough to win even game 6; with any any bat support, she would have won by about 10-5. Feels like the end of an era....
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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There are 11 days or so for the coaching staff to make adjustments based on what they saw this 3 win 3 loss weekend. The numbers should speak for themselves and the logical adjustments should follow. It is better to get those losses in now in week one rather than later in the season. Hopefully it puts a foul taste in the team’s mouth and is the impetus for players and coaches to respond.

I do think the team will be fine this season and competitive for winning the Big Ten along with Michigan (4-2) and Northwestern (6-0), but they do clearly have to try some new strategies to get more runs on the board.

Finally, I am not an expert but I watched one single swing from Chloe Evans this weekend, on BTN+ video, and from that it looked to me like she can connect with pitches with powerful swings. Get her more swings please to see if this is true.
 

mngolf

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They have put themselves in a situation of needing to win almost every game the rest of the way. Good luck. And offense should be prioritized over defense at this point.
 

Metoo

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My guess is that in a few hours we will see a starting lineup cars that looks very similar to the below:

Partain - 2b
Jensen -CF
DenHartog - LF
Dray - C
Hansen - 1b
Strelow - DH
Kemmetmueller - 3b
Jones - RF
Brandt - SS

That being said, I am beyond interested in seeing what capabilities the Freshmen and the Sophomores Peterson and Cox (who had limited ABs last year) can add to add to the potency of our lineup. I am expecting and hoping that the answer is quite a lot.

Lastly, I really hope the Gophers try to add more of an aggressive speed game on the base paths into their gameplan. They can win a lot of Big Ten games without taking the risks, but gaining that reputation as base-stealers now may help them in post-season.
The BIG question will be - WILL the Freshmen or unused sophomores be used if current "top 9" are not performing. That was a HUGe issue last year. Change things up and find SOMETHING that actually works. I think you keep trying the newer players until you see progress. They will push each other to be better.
 

Metoo

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Offense needs to be better than this. Period.

Amber hasn't been particularly sharp either, but good enough.

Overall, a very blah start to the season. At this point, just get the win and collect themselves before the second game.
Please is much stronger than Fiser. Fiser just
Been looking forward to finally seeing Pease pitch.

Didn't get a chance last year due to COVID, but from everything I hear, she's quite impressive.
She IS the #1 quality pitcher and person, miles above others.
 

mngolf

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The BIG question will be - WILL the Freshmen or unused sophomores be used if current "top 9" are not performing. That was a HUGe issue last year. Change things up and find SOMETHING that actually works. I think you keep trying the newer players until you see progress. They will push each other to be better.
I don't understand why they didn't use subs more. It's nothing new for some of the veterans. Change it up.
 

Metoo

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Gopher68 usually has such a good handle on recruiting but I gotta say that I think they do recruit for power. Evans, Ehlke, Hansen, Kinch, Costa, and so many others on the team had really large home run numbers in high school and pre-college club softball, as compared to their similar age peers. I think they have displayed a lot of power when they connect with the ball. It is the “connecting with the ball” that is the problem. I think there is just orders of magnitude difference in the pitching abilities of 21 year old college trained pitchers as compared to 17 year old pitchers.

I watch some videos and it looks like they are hitting beach balls while if you watch these college games it looks like those women are pitching BBs. Some players seem to just have a knack for making contact. Partain seems to have that knack. Strelow may have some of that knack. Others seem to struggle to keep up with the pace and movement of these college pitchers and I don’t know how you would know that for sure until they get into games and test their reaction time out.
Funny Ehitex who left is hitting strong this season
Going into this last game, Gophers Team Batting Avg .212. I see the team left 14 players on base this game with 29 total so far this season. Oh my goodness. Dray, the 4th batter, has contributed to 11 of those LOB's. Team needs to start rebounding this next game.

I am not there to see these games. Can anybody respond to the players and coaches how they are reacting to these losses?
Look at White's stats for THIS year. Maybe we should have fought to keep someone with 7 HRs this year.
 

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ClassOf98Gopher

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So, the reason that this past weekend looked so similar to the 2020 season is that the players were largely those players of the 2020 season. The reason that I was so optimistic about the 2021 season is that we had almost all of those players return AND they would be supported by 9 new players and a healthy Elle Jensen.

First, the concerning part of the weekend. I don’t know why Elle Jensen didn’t swing the bat. If she can’t add her .400 plus hitting percentage to the 2021 team, that would be damaging. Denson can replace a lot of her skills, but I expected Jensen would play a big role in this team.

Second, the reason for optimism. Week 1 hurried through inevitable. We all knew some of these 8 Freshman and 3 underplayed sophomores were going to have to step up to improve this team. It looks like they are committed to Kinch at Catch and Denson getting at least fairly regular time in the outfield. It looks to me like we are going to need at least TWO more of these remaining nine Freshman and Sophomores players who didn’t play much or at all this past weekend to step up and hit with consistency as regulars in our starting lineup.
 

dlw4gophers

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On Josie White. For whatever reason she got little to no play time here. We moved on and she moved on. She is doing well at Southern Utah. I don't know anything about that league, but I am guessing the pitching is better in the big 10. Also, her favorite sports team is the Packers, so there is that.
 

AZGopher8

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I understand this was the first weekend of live play in a long time for the Gophers, so it is understandable to be a little rusty. However, playing 6 games should have provided plenty of time for that and you should be ready to roll in the last 3 games.

I agree with the concern several have voiced about the lack of hitting. We are wasting the incredible talents of Fiser and Pease. It also wears on a pitcher when you feel like you have to be perfect every time out to have a chance to win.

The even greater concern for me is the lack of change in the lineup we saw through the weekend. I love Brandt's defense but there is no way she should be batting anywhere near the top of the lineup. Kinch literally went 0 for 17. As a coach, I am using a pinch hitter at every opportunity to score a run. You can re-enter for Kinch once, at least use that to your advantage and pinch hit with any opportunity to score. We need to get players off the bench to see what the younger recruits have to offer. This current lineup will not get it done.

Things shift through the year. Players get hot and they get cold. You have to adjust as a coach to that. Denson should have been in the 2 spot once you could see she could put it in play and put pressure on the defense. I believe she is going to be very good for the Gophers.

I agree with Class...we miss Jensen in the lineup too! I hope she can get some at bats soon.
 
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Jaydee

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I understand this was the first weekend of live play in a long time for the Gophers, so it is understandable to be a little rusty. However, playing 6 games should have provided plenty of time for that and you should be ready to roll in the last 3 games.

I agree with the concern several have voiced about the lack of hitting. We are wasting the incredible talents of Fiser and Pease. It also wears on a pitcher when you feel like you have to be perfect every time out to have a chance to win.

The even greater concern for me is the lack of change in the lineup we saw through the weekend. I love Brandt's defense but there is no way she should be batting anywhere near the top of the lineup. Kinch literally went 0 for 17. As a coach, I am using a pinch hitter at every opportunity to score a run. You can re-enter for Kinch once, at least use that to your advantage and pinch hit with any opportunity to score. We need to get players off the bench to see what the younger recruits have to offer. This current lineup will not get it done.

Things shift through the year. Players get hot and they get cold. You have to adjust as a coach to that. Denson should have been in the 2 spot once you could see she could put it in play and put pressure on the defense. I believe she is going to be very good for the Gophers.

I agree with Class...we miss Jensen in the lineup too! I hope she can get some at bats soon.
You are right, AZ. Kinch seemed to do well as Catcher, which is something we sorely needed last season, but 0-17 is too big of a hole to ignore. Also, Hansen and Brandt were .158 and .118 for the weekend, respectively. After years of similar numbers, I think they are known quantities at this point. And while they can contribute, they shouldn’t both be starting with those numbers.
Even if coaches try some of the new girls and lose, at least they are learning, and therefore making progress towards a better lineup. The status quo of hitting below .200 as a team is a guaranteed losing season.
As far as Jensen goes, she’s a great player but I think she too is a known quantity. She’s perpetually injured, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up that she will be a big contributor this season.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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You are right, AZ. Kinch seemed to do well as Catcher, which is something we sorely needed last season, but 0-17 is too big of a hole to ignore. Also, Hansen and Brandt were .158 and .118 for the weekend, respectively. After years of similar numbers, I think they are known quantities at this point. And while they can contribute, they shouldn’t both be starting with those numbers.
Even if coaches try some of the new girls and lose, at least they are learning, and therefore making progress towards a better lineup. The status quo of hitting below .200 as a team is a guaranteed losing season.
As far as Jensen goes, she’s a great player but I think she too is a known quantity. She’s perpetually injured, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up that she will be a big contributor this season.

To create any potential for a dramatically more potent offense (and week 1 suggested that is necessary), one very tough decision is on the coaches’ agenda: to move Strelow to SS for the 2021 year. Strelow is a natural 2nd base and I don’t know what arm strength she has but she is likely the only candidate right now that is one of our top 9 batters AND can play that demanding position in the field. She is Partain’s heir-apparent next year... but we have to get to next year first.

Once that change starting infielder decision is made, then all the other line-up decisions are quite simple and revolve around the DH and 1st base positions (and potentially impacting RF), and coaches can just plug into the starting lineup who among about 13 potential candidates is hitting the ball hard the most consistently.
 

4EverAGopher

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Many fans were excited about this season's Coaching Staff. I'm beginning to wonder about that after this opening weekend. However, I will really question it more, if we have the same lineup and results next series in Florida.

By the way, how did Dray become a Gopher? Like I stated earlier I have not kept up with the posting until the start of the season. So far, in my opinion, she has not really contributed positively at the plate or with her defense (at catching and first base).
 

junc1929

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To create any potential for a dramatically more potent offense (and week 1 suggested that is necessary), one very tough decision is on the coaches’ agenda: to move Strelow to SS for the 2021 year. Strelow is a natural 2nd base and I don’t know what arm strength she has but she is likely the only candidate right now that is one of our top 9 batters AND can play that demanding position in the field. She is Partain’s heir-apparent next year... but we have to get to next year first.

Once that change starting infielder decision is made, then all the other line-up decisions are quite simple and revolve around the DH and 1st base positions (and potentially impacting RF), and coaches can just plug into the starting lineup who among about 13 potential candidates is hitting the ball hard the most consistently.
arm strength is not an issue for strelow, in my opinion. her first fall i saw her play short and we actually stopped in the middle of a conversation to figure out who she was because her throws made such a pop in the first baseman’s glove. she also caught last year, which is usually a pretty good sign of arm strength. i think it’s just a matter of if the coaches have the guts to do it. or maybe she sucks there at practice and we just don’t see that. who knows.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Many fans were excited about this season's Coaching Staff. I'm beginning to wonder about that after this opening weekend. However, I will really question it more, if we have the same lineup and results next series in Florida.

By the way, how did Dray become a Gopher? Like I stated earlier I have not kept up with the posting until the start of the season. So far, in my opinion, she has not really contributed positively at the plate or with her defense (at catching and first base).

The coaches probably had a plan developed for weeks where they would see how good the team would be playing with experienced players that first weekend in Florida. Clearly the answer is: not good enough. Then, if they had to make riskier changes, they could do that in the second trip to Florida (after a week and half off to practice with those changes announced to the team) knowing that Michigan State and Rutgers are the two teams you would want to try out a changed lineup on two weekends from now.

That is why I take the optimistic view that it is better knowing we need a change after that first weekend in Florida as compared to realizing that fact at any other week of the 2021 season.
 

Jaydee

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To create any potential for a dramatically more potent offense (and week 1 suggested that is necessary), one very tough decision is on the coaches’ agenda: to move Strelow to SS for the 2021 year. Strelow is a natural 2nd base and I don’t know what arm strength she has but she is likely the only candidate right now that is one of our top 9 batters AND can play that demanding position in the field. She is Partain’s heir-apparent next year... but we have to get to next year first.

Once that change starting infielder decision is made, then all the other line-up decisions are quite simple and revolve around the DH and 1st base positions (and potentially impacting RF), and coaches can just plug into the starting lineup who among about 13 potential candidates is hitting the ball hard the most consistently.
I think you’re right. Syd has the arm strength. She made a diving attempt On an Indiana line drive yesterday (missed) and threw it on a rope to home. I love her energy and positivity on the field. That’s an x-factor that is missing in some of the upperclassmen.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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You are right, AZ. Kinch seemed to do well as Catcher, which is something we sorely needed last season, but 0-17 is too big of a hole to ignore.

0-17 is not good. BUT my guess is they are going to give her so much leash that they will wait until the stats are not, not-good... as long as it takes. If Kinch is assumed as the catcher for a long time, and Strelow is allowed to apply her natural athleticism at SS, then that really realistically leaves three spots for everyone else to fight for, DH, 1B, and RF.

We have great pitchers Nicole Newman on staff and Fiser and Pease on the roster. In practice time over the next 10 days, which THREE hitters among: Brandt, Gill, Jensen, Hansen, Dray, Lindner, Cox, Peterson, Jones, Evans, Ehlke, Costa, Beckstrom, Ceynowa, Hollifield can square up on the pitches from those three awesome pitchers most consistently? Then play those three players in the starting lineup.

I assume Dray is a favorite for either 1B or DH; but I would leave it open for anyone to get those starting spots. Jensen is a clear favorite for the outfield if she is in any way healthy enough to track the pitched ball and then swing the bat. I personally would like a underclasssman that swings for the fences among the three “winners” but whoever hits best should start.

It seems pretty simple on the coaches if the coaches can get to that stage.
 

mngolf

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I have a personal bias here as I know her, but would give Peterson a chance at catching. I saw nothing out of our catchers that said they must play from this past wknd
 

Hrothgar

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It seems what we're all saying is: The past weekend was a continuation of 2020. What the Gophers had in the years before 2020 that made them special is gone now and hasn't been replaced. Superior talent will make itself felt whether fresh(wo)men or seniors.
 

junc1929

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I have a personal bias here as I know her, but would give Peterson a chance at catching. I saw nothing out of our catchers that said they must play from this past wknd
not saying you’re wrong, as i liked what i saw of her bat last year in limited work, and i pretty much think they should run out everyone and give them a chance at this point. but she did struggle to control the run game last year in limited innings. i would guess that's the hang up.
 

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If one uses the 2019 year as a baseline, 2 of the top 5 of the order are inferior this year with 1 position (DenHartog) just having a slow start by comparison. Most of the remaining lineup has started slow but could be as good if not better in the long run. Unfortunately, that top 5 is critically important and I don't know if there's a lineup that can match that.

I didn't get to see all the games this weekend, so this list could be off some. Be kind in your bashing my errors!

1PartainPartainsame
2HoulihanBrandtinferior
3BrandnerKemetmuellerinferior
4DenHartogDenHartogslow start but could be improved
5KemetmuellerHansensimilar - potentially better batting
6BurnsDrayslow start - potentially better batting
7ArnesonStrelowslow start - potentially better batting
8/9Lindner/Brandt/OthersKinch/Lindner et alslow start - potential???
 
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mngolf

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Well I go back to offense needs to trump defense at this point. Or at least try.
 

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Jocelyn Alo 13 HR 39 RBI in 17 games, has to be frontrunner for player of year
 
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