Kinch is the best defensive catcher on the roster. Brandt's value at short is also an asset.The drop-off after Hansen is dramatic. And looks like Denson should be batting more. Brandts ob% and hrs helps offset her avg. But Strelow, Kinch, and the number of strike outs on Kinch.......
The umpire was just as bad the day before; the worst strke zone I've ever seen. It was definitely tilted in one team's favor, but an umpire doesn't beat you 8-0.Mid-40s with 35 mph gusts is tough on a Defense, especially pitchers. That umpire should be ashamed of himself. Two different zones. The announcers even commented on it. But our batters had no plate discipline at all today.
I understand that. I wish our defensive players were better hitters. Some of them are on their fourth hitting coach. Perhaps, Katie will get them to be better hitters. Meanwhile, who do you want to play short? Will that player hit any better? Dray had been catching. She wasn't hitting and wasn't as good defensively. Is there a hidden talent to play catcher? I agree that at his point, the Gophers are mediocre. I hope they can put it together for the remainder of the season.But we're losing due to offense. Status quo gets us no conference title, no conference tournament title, and as stated earlier no distance in ncaa
Maybe. I don't see them at practice to know any better. Possibly redshirting some of them?I can't believe our youngins would be horrible at defense. Or why would we have recruited them. And can't hardly do worse batting. It's worth trying. Purdue is worth trying against. One per game, just to see.
Making the NCAA is one thing. Hosting a regional is the real goal. Host teams usually win regionals. Talk is that the only hope of hosting is to finish first in the BIG.After this past weekend, are we going to make the NCAA tournament? I for one am not so sure.
I tend to agree, it starts with pitching. But there are only a handful of those Superstar girls per year and they want to go to warm places with teams they KNOW can hit. I really think MN is a tough sell for the best kids from CA and TX.Everybody's comments here are very good, from people who know softball better than I do. The way I see it, you start with pitching. You can have the best fielding & hitting in the world, but if you can't pitch it doesn't matter. Why not look for 2 superstar, lights-out pitchers who blow everybody away and build out from there with hitting and fielding? With a HC who's a pitching specialist, that'd seem to be the approach. What do others think?
Going 3-1 on the road against a team that came into the series with a 10-2 record, including two wins vs Michigan? Our very best teams (2017 and 2019) were never able to sweep Illinois in their house, and those were only three-game series.After this past weekend, are we going to make the NCAA tournament? I for one am not so sure.
Most of the very best players initially have their sights set on playing at one of the upper-tier PAC-12 or Big-12 teams, an SEC team, or a select few ACC teams. There are a lot of great players who may want to get a full ride from one of those programs, but each school has to decide how to allocate just 12 scholarships across an entire roster.I think the problem traces back to mediocre recruiting. Allister hit a gold mine w/ the first-yr stars who came in the fall of 2016. In 2017 she brought in no great future standouts (a sign she felt she'd be leaving?) Since then, the true standouts have only been transfers (Brandner, Pease, etc.), except for maybe DenHartog. We can only get a team of national stature if we get superstar recruits, which is possible but not happening. This year's Gophers have no real central-figure leader(s) on the field, who can pull the team through on a bad day. In Sunday's poor team performance, at Illinois, if they'd had the likes of Groenewegen or Fiser (of 2017-2019 caliber) in the circle the score after 5 innings would likely still only have been 0-0, anybody's game. The Fiser of 2019 would be striking out 10-15 a game against the 16 lackluster teams faced so far this year.
And it only took them until 16 games into the season to get it done!!!they finally posted the stats on the website: https://gophersports.com/documents/2021/3/29//MN_Softball_Stats_4_.pdf?id=15635
Agreed.Most of the very best players initially have their sights set on playing at one of the upper-tier PAC-12 or Big-12 teams, an SEC team, or a select few ACC teams. There are a lot of great players who may want to get a full ride from one of those programs, but each school has to decide how to allocate just 12 scholarships across an entire roster.
You cannot understate the importance of our WCWS appearance in countering one objection top players might have — that you probably won’t ever get to play on the big WCWS stage and thus have a legitimate chance to win a national championship if you choose Minnesota.
Piper has already proven to be able to recruit and develop great pitchers. As for hitters, this young staff has some good connections, but I wouldn’t expect to beat Oklahoma, Florida, UCLA, Washington, Oregon or other so-called Blue Bloods for players who are perceived to be can’t miss prospects.
That said, that recent WCWS appearance gives us an advantage few other schools have. We just need to capitalize on it in these next three recruiting cycles.
Interesting comments, like everyone's posting here. All of us clearly fervently want a super team. What I get from us all is a feeling that right now, yes, there is something good there, but also something important that's missing, both of which can be hard to pinpoint. We might end up 2nd or 3rd in the BIG (even first with some really great good fortune) and maybe 2nd in a regional some place. Missing this year is 2 or 3 outstanding players to get us over the hump. If those 2 or 3 are there, they need to step up fast.Agreed.
And while recent recruiting might have suffered (honestly, it's hard to tell considering how many of the newcomers haven't seen the field yet), there are some potential studs on the way in coming years it appears.
They have two top-40 recruits coming in next year with Leavitt and Chavez. The key is to keep stocking up year-after-year. We got kinda spoiled in recent years with a bunch of local recruits (Sam Macken, Maddie Houlihan and DenHartog (until this year)) that showed they could really hit from nearly the beginning. Might be a case where we as a fanbase need to accept that isn't going to happen every year.
Certainly, the program needs to keep recruiting high-level Minnesota players, but there have already been some significant inroads made into places like Arizona (Richardson and Parlich) along with California (Kinch, Pease, Costa, Chavez and Leavitt) and even Texas (Denson) so the opportunity for getting some better warm-weather recruits is still there.
Just need to see where things lead in coming years.
I think I'm the one who argued for starting by recruiting elite pitching, that you can't win w/o it, but I also wrote about "working out from there," by which I meant getting good power bats and defense to back up the pitching. That's asking for a lot, but it seems to be what we all desire to see.I am very confident this team is an NCAA tournament team. Is it worthy of hosting a regional? Very doubtful, especially in a year where the B1G is only playing conference games. We all clearly want the team to be competitive to the point of being in the conversation of hosting a regional and even better, a super regional! Unless something drastically changes and this team goes on an epic run, that will not happen this season. That is the challenge of collegiate sports, to remain a highly competitive program year after year. Being a Northern school presents additional challenges, but as 2019 proves, it can be done. And that most certainly should be our goal each and every year.
My concern for this team is that we know we need more bats in the lineup. I would expect the coaching staff recognizes this too. So, either the coaching staff doesn't feel they have better options on the bench to even try them during a game, or the coaching staff is unwilling to make some difficult choices and sit some veterans that are not contributing to the level necessary to propel this team from "good" to "great". If the coaches don't feel we have any options on the bench, that concerns me for future Gopher teams.
As for the discussion of pitching, hitting, and defense and their priority to have a great team competing at the top of the sport. Clearly, it starts with pitching. All the top programs have elite pitching. But, pitching will not do it alone. You must have hitters capable of hitting elite pitching while playing solid defense. You can't have a great team without those ingredients. This game is too hard and too fast and too unforgiving.
Just remember this is the same team that held UCLA to 4 runs last season. Yes we lost but , we held one of the top teams to 0 runs thru 3 innings. First team last season to do that. The lack of runs will always kill you. Swinging for the fences will never produce effective scoring. Hoping for a walk then a home run is crazy it’s like counting on a pitcher to strike out just about every batter. You have to string together ground and line drives to constantly score. Making contact and ball placement is how you win close games. We have lost too many games by 2 or fewer runs.I think I'm the one who argued for starting by recruiting elite pitching, that you can't win w/o it, but I also wrote about "working out from there," by which I meant getting good power bats and defense to back up the pitching. That's asking for a lot, but it seems to be what we all desire to see.
I agree. The Gophers have left far too many runners on base the past two years, when good solid contact hitting would've driven them in. Several of their wins this year would've been run-rule wins with a few timely singles and doubles produced. I think, though, that swinging for the fences is not the problem but being too passive at the plate. Striking out with runners on base w/o even swinging.Just remember this is the same team that held UCLA to 4 runs last season. Yes we lost but , we held one of the top teams to 0 runs thru 3 innings. First team last season to do that. The lack of runs will always kill you. Swinging for the fences will never produce effective scoring. Hoping for a walk then a home run is crazy it’s like counting on a pitcher to strike out just about every batter. You have to string together ground and line drives to constantly score. Making contact and ball placement is how you win close games. We have lost too many games by 2 or fewer runs.