Gopher softball 2021

mngolf

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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.......
 

Gopher68

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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.......
Kinch is the best defensive catcher on the roster. Brandt's value at short is also an asset.
 

mngolf

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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
 

Hrothgar

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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.
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.
 

Hrothgar

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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.

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Gopher68

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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
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.
 

mngolf

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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.
 

Gopher68

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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.
Maybe. I don't see them at practice to know any better. Possibly redshirting some of them?
 

Hrothgar

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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?
 

mngolf

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No doubt you're correct. Tell all parents in travel that the older you get, it's all about pitchers catchers and hitters. That's what gets you on the field and recruited. Whenever I hear someone complaining that their little girl is a better defender than another, I tell them it's all about hitting. Pitchers, catchers, and the best hitters everywhere else.
 

gopherlover22873

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I personally think Denson should be in the lineup, only because I think she was doing pretty good for a freshman and think she could improve a lot with more at bats. Tired of seeing the same line up with the same outcomes, lets try something new!! As for the other freshman, give them a go as well? Why not let them get some ab's and playing time when losing 8-0?
 

Jaydee

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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?
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.
We opened the season with some very solid pitching performances by both starters and we still lost games for lack of hitting. Last season we didn’t even have the good pitching, largely because we had no one resembling a catcher to form a true battery. At least that’s changed now with Kinch.

I had a coach who would say “Pitching, Hitting and Defense. You can win with any 2 of them, as long as one of them is hitting.”😂
 

rwlarson

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After this past weekend, are we going to make the NCAA tournament? I for one am not so sure.
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.

As long as the team (and particularly Fiser — we need her head to be in a good place) can put that game in the past, we have an opportunity to get right back in the B1G title chase the next two weekends against Purdue and Northwestern.

As far as hosting this year, no out of conference games this year makes that next to impossible for any team in the conference.
 

rwlarson

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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.

.
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.
 

rowdaboat

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Conference got 6 teams in 2019 and there's at least an extra spot from Ivy league sitting out sports
 

MRJ

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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.
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.
 

Hrothgar

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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.
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.
 

Jaydee

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A little perspective is necessary. Watching Kentucky best Alabama last night. Fouts, an elite pitcher, gave up a 2-run shot and a few more hits before getting pulled for Kilfoyle, one of the best Freshman pitchers, who also gave up 2 homers and lost the game. It happens to the best of them. Now, Kentucky’s average is better than MN (.353 vs .240) but look at their schedule. They’re playing teams like NC Central U and Mount St. Mary’s. I believe our team would hit .350+ and pitchers would have double digit strikeouts per game if we were playing small-time D1s for 1/2 of the season. We will see if I’m right at the end of the regular season when we play hapless Penn St.
 

mngolf

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We probably should have done that to Rutgers already. Or MSU. while I understand what your saying, Ncaa won't factor that in our favor.
 

AZGopher8

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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.
 

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I find it interesting that with all the criticism of our offense this year, we are 2nd in the B1G in runs scored.

Offensive success in modern NCAA softball is increasingly tied to the home run, especially when going up against top pitching. It can be extremely difficult to string together 3-4 hits against an elite pitcher who is on her game in order to score a couple runs. However, a walk and a HR accomplishes the same. All pitchers, even elite ones, will generally throw one pitch every at bat that doesn’t move as much as they’d like and that catches too much of the white. If you have players with power, you can take advantage and put runs on the board.

It seems that this approach is intentional for this coaching staff. I would even go so far as to argue that part of Den Hartog’s struggles this year can be attributed to her going against her naturally very aggressive approach and trying to become more selective at the plate. If she figures it out and starts swinging aggressively at pitches in the zone while laying off balls out of the zone, I expect her batting average to start climbing. Interestingly, her power numbers are still ok but they could be a little better for a player of her demonstrated capabilities.

I also want to commend Katie Kemmetmueller for what she has done offensively this year. Leading the B1G in HRs and hitting .340 a third of the way into the season, and completing her nursing degree! Big shout out to Katie.
 

Hrothgar

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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.
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.
 

Twinballs

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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.
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.
 

Hrothgar

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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 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.
 

Hrothgar

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Is it definite now that Gopher softball is closed to spectators?
 
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