I'm just not seeing a team worthy of competing for a regional host. And if they play this way for the rest of the season, an NCAA Tournament bid would even be in question.
With that said, there is plenty of time and hopefully the players can find a way to get things going. But man, this has been a very disappointing team to watch early this season.
At this point, It's all about the game in front of them.I started participating on this message board preaching expectations management for a softball program like Minnesota. Now it is 2021 and over these past several months I did not follow my own preaching and honestly I have been caught off guard by how “non-dominant” they have shown themselves to be over these first 9 games.
As I have said before, for a softball problem like the Gophers, the goal is competing for and hopefully winning Big Ten titles. Everything else is getting carts before horses.
This team has not looked great, we all see that. But if they take 3 of 4 from Northwestern and 3 of 4 from Michigan in their respective 4 game series, they will be Big Ten champs. Can they do that? It’s possible. Right now I wouldn’t bet on it; they have to get better offensive production; but it’s possible.
I go back to why I was so optimistic in the first place. I followed especially these formerly high school age players: Cox, Peterson, Jones, Costa, Kinch, Ehlke, and Evans over the past year or two and I expected at least some of those young players could perform at the college level as underclassmen and fill in hitting performance gaps that we have all known to exist when looking only at the upperclassmen roster. Apparently the problem is that they are not blowing the doors off during practice or something to demand playing spots. Maybe I just assumed wrong as to their batting prowess.
For the most part, my philosophy is to look at the players to win games more than the coaches. I still believe to win the Big Ten, we will need still need a player or two to emerge from what is currently nowhere to be a middle of the lineup batter by the end of the season.
IF we win the Big Ten, we will certainly be in the running for one of those 16 regional host spots. If we finish in the top three of the Big Ten, we will be going to the NCAA tournament. The first of those is possible. That second of those is likely.
MRJ: "Previous Gopher teams would absolutely mop-up against the schedule they've faced so far this season."
Painfully true. Since the year of Partain, Fiser, Lindaman, Kemmetmueller, etc., the level of recruits has slipped steadily. A few transfers like Brandner, Pease, etc., have kept things pretty good, but the level has slipped steadily otherwise.
Maryland has been the big surprise for me. Formerly a bottom feeder. Schlotterbeck is pitching lights out vs some decent teams.That class that were Freshmen in 2017 that you speak of was exceptional to every class since AND before it in modern Gopher softball history.
I noticed that OSU and Maryland won today and Indiana kept it very close against Northwestern. All three teams that we played in that first weekend are in the middle of the pack now. Maybe the B1G is more balanced than it historically has been (not including PSU, Michigan State, and Purdue)
I see Amber aiming her pitches lately, rather than pitching. If she'd relax and throw her usual smoke with abandon, none of these hitters would ever touch her.
Maddie H did pretty well at 1st for a couple years. I'd rather have a medium stature yet athletic player at 1B with a glove and a bat than a more one-dimensional player.Except for Kinch at Catch. It appears as through they are committed to that assignment, probably for a long time.
Strelow at 1st? Isn’t she a little... well... little for that position assignment?
So you're a fair weather fan like all the rest of the "experts" on this forum. smh.We won the game!
We've worked our to 4th place and rising. Pease is pretty fun for me to watch.
I'm still watching Gopher softball and not the Twins, if they can keep scratching out victories I might be able to hang with them
What I see on this forum are fans following the team and discussing it. All quite respectfully and clearly rooting for the Gophers to be as competitive and successful as possible. Just because we talk about ways we think they could improve or things we would do differently doesn't make us fair weather. It makes us fans who like discussing the Gopher softball team.So you're a fair weather fan like all the rest of the "experts" on this forum. smh.
Sports is entertainment... and nothing more. Let’s not get overly romantic about it. When a sport is not entertaining then it is insanity to spend precious time in our too-short lives following it.I will find out for sure over time, but yes there is probably a limit to the amount of losses I want to watch! You're not the only one who shakes their head at me
Maybe somewhat surprisingly we are:
1st in doubles
1st in HRs
1st in BB
3rd in RBI
4th in triples