Gopher softball 2021

2nd Degree Gopher

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Is it definite now that Gopher softball is closed to spectators?
The U has announced that they aren't going to sell tickets to the public for any spring competitions. There is some limited seating allowed, but those tickets are going to players, coaches, families, etc.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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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.

A “problem” for this softball program is the expectations that fanatical fans (of which I am one) have for this program. I fully concede, I expected a pretty awesome team this year; meaning likely Big Ten champion and an approximately 10th seed (give or take) type of team. So far, we all see that we are not that.

On the other hand, I understand that it is really tough to consistently maintain preeminence in the Big Ten for a program like Minnesota. There are 12 other Big Ten teams with just as many scholarships to give out that want to be where Minnesota and Michigan have been over the last 6 -7 years.

Oh, and our team has had to deal with the fact that we have had 3 head coaches in 4 years!... not to mention the associated coaching staff chances... not to mention associated turmoil. It’s tough to stay on top.

That being said, I do think we have a very outside shot at a 3-1 series win at Northwestern and a 3-1 series win against Michigan; and doing that would likely get us the Big Ten title. But to do so, as I see it, the key is Autumn Pease. I am a little worried about all the tape on her elbow in Illinois. I hope she can get some rest this weekend as the team builds up big leads against Purdue and Dueck, Jones, and maybe even Hollifield can chew up some innings for her so she can be strong in 8 days.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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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?

To me, the only realistic current players that could be replaced in the starting lineup for the purpose of gaining offense are at 1st Base and SS (with Strelow as the most likely defensive replacement, probably for either spot). While our left fielder has poor batting numbers so far this year, I wouldn’t pull her from the starting lineup. Speed doesn’t slump and so long as she has her speed, she is a team asset. She has a proven history in her career hitting numbers so far of placing slap hits and bunts and getting on base.

It appears to me, based upon who has been trusted by the coaching staff with at bats so far this year, it is only Denson, Ehlke, Jones, and Evans as the only candidates we as fans who want more from our offense this season are putting our hopes in. I don’t know if two speed/slap hitters is too redundant in a 9 person lineup - adding Denson in to join Jensen - but I would be willing to try. But if we were to to that, I would want the Gophers to really take risks on the base paths; especially starting in the Northwestern series and challenge and stress their catcher and their entire defense.
 

mngolf

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A “problem” for this softball program is the expectations that fanatical fans (of which I am one) have for this program. I fully concede, I expected a pretty awesome team this year; meaning likely Big Ten champion and an approximately 10th seed (give or take) type of team. So far, we all see that we are not that.

On the other hand, I understand that it is really tough to consistently maintain preeminence in the Big Ten for a program like Minnesota. There are 12 other Big Ten teams with just as many scholarships to give out that want to be where Minnesota and Michigan have been over the last 6 -7 years.

Oh, and our team has had to deal with the fact that we have had 3 head coaches in 4 years!... not to mention the associated coaching staff chances... not to mention associated turmoil. It’s tough to stay on top.

That being said, I do think we have a very outside shot at a 3-1 series win at Northwestern and a 3-1 series win against Michigan; and doing that would likely get us the Big Ten title. But to do so, as I see it, the key is Autumn Pease. I am a little worried about all the tape on her elbow in Illinois. I hope she can get some rest this weekend as the team builds up big leads against Purdue and Dueck, Jones, and maybe even Hollifield can chew up some innings for her so she can be strong in 8 days.
Speaking for myself, my frustration comes from seeing choices that could be changed or made differently but are not. If I saw those being done, and there was no improvement, then I would be accepting of how it's been. And would not be critical at this point.
 

Hrothgar

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As I see it, the team needs to get redhot the rest of the season & win game after game after game, against all oponents. To do that means on-field leadership from key players, mainly in the form of 1) crucial base hits, not HRs alone, that drive in lots of runs and 2) Fiser being Fiser. I'm not sure that's realistic to expect from this group. We'll see.
 

Tucker

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My habit of muting the streams is getting more established all the time.

But it is hard to mute Erika Smyth. I think she does a fantastic job doing color. She keeps it short and sweet, doesn’t babble incessantly like so many announcers these days, and says relevant, interesting things.

Welcome back Erika!!!!

Feels good to see Jane Sage again, too!
 

4EverAGopher

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Thank you to the coaches. Gopher fans like myself wanted to see a lineup change and we certainly got it today.

Couple of errors at the beginning and the players appear to be settling in. Costa made it up at the plate. Nice hit.

#31 just needed to come home to start hitting. Glad for her. She is an imortant part of our offense.

Go Gophers!!!
 

rowdaboat

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It'd be nice to get big enough lead for Ansleigh and Kianna pitching out the rest one of the weekend games
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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No, the score wasn’t a gaudy blowout, but I feel a lot better.

Jensen, DenHartog, Costa, and Strelow all had big games hitting the ball. Three of those being players we all know need to perform in the batter’s box if the Gophers are going to be really good, and Costa may be that Freshman that really steps in and steps up for the team.

Finally, the coaches displayed that they were able and willing to shuffle the cards a little with regards to the starting lineup. Seeing that willingness by the coaches is probably the most relieving aspect of this entire game.
 

4EverAGopher

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Moving forward, I am hoping the coaching staff rotates RF, 1B, and possibly DH with Hansen, Dray, Denson or Lindner. If none can improve their hitting and deserve the consistent start, then the coaches can continue going to the bench.

Does Kemetmueller play outfield or 1B? Or Costa 1B? Sure hate losing her bat right now and with Costa's 3B debut at the plate, WOW!!!!

Keep it up Jensen and Denhartog. Welcome Home to both of you.

Feel for Fiser. She is absolutely not herself. Not what us MN fans have seen since she became a Gopher.
 

Jaydee

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To me, the only realistic current players that could be replaced in the starting lineup for the purpose of gaining offense are at 1st Base and SS (with Strelow as the most likely defensive replacement, probably for either spot). While our left fielder has poor batting numbers so far this year, I wouldn’t pull her from the starting lineup. Speed doesn’t slump and so long as she has her speed, she is a team asset. She has a proven history in her career hitting numbers so far of placing slap hits and bunts and getting on base.

It appears to me, based upon who has been trusted by the coaching staff with at bats so far this year, it is only Denson, Ehlke, Jones, and Evans as the only candidates we as fans who want more from our offense this season are putting our hopes in. I don’t know if two speed/slap hitters is too redundant in a 9 person lineup - adding Denson in to join Jensen - but I would be willing to try. But if we were to to that, I would want the Gophers to really take risks on the base paths; especially starting in the Northwestern series and challenge and stress their catcher and their entire defense.
I’ve noticed very conservative base running this season.
No, the score wasn’t a gaudy blowout, but I feel a lot better.

Jensen, DenHartog, Costa, and Strelow all had big games hitting the ball. Three of those being players we all know need to perform in the batter’s box if the Gophers are going to be really good, and Costa may be that Freshman that really steps in and steps up for the team.

Finally, the coaches displayed that they were able and willing to shuffle the cards a little with regards to the starting lineup. Seeing that willingness by the coaches is probably the most relieving aspect of this entire game.
I’m glad some other girls got a chance, and with some success (good job Costa!) But I did notice that the starters they replaced were not even in the dugout, so maybe it wasn’t the coaches choice to replace them. Good opportunity to see what we have on the bench.
 

Jaydee

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Moving forward, I am hoping the coaching staff rotates RF, 1B, and possibly DH with Hansen, Dray, Denson or Lindner. If none can improve their hitting and deserve the consistent start, then the coaches can continue going to the bench.

Does Kemetmueller play outfield or 1B? Or Costa 1B? Sure hate losing her bat right now and with Costa's 3B debut at the plate, WOW!!!!

Keep it up Jensen and Denhartog. Welcome Home to both of you.

Feel for Fiser. She is absolutely not herself. Not what us MN fans have seen since she became a Gopher.
Denton hitting .353, Hansen .222, Dray .209, Lindner .095. The only question is if Hansen’s power is as valuable as Denton’s average and speed.
If today is any indication, I would try Costa at 1st and keep a very solid Kemmetmueller at 3rd. Costa had 2 throwing errors but the bat looked good. Small sample size though. I’m sure we will see more of her this weekend.
 

Jaydee

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Denton hitting .353, Hansen .222, Dray .209, Lindner .095. The only question is if Hansen’s power is as valuable as Denton’s average and speed.
If today is any indication, I would try Costa at 1st and keep a very solid Kemmetmueller at 3rd. Costa had 2 throwing errors but the bat looked good. Small sample size though. I’m sure we will see more of her this weekend.
Correction. Denson hitting .316
 

Hrothgar

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Any thought of taking Kemmetmueller off third base is nuts. She's surely the best defensive thirdbase[wo]man in the BIG, and, as Erika Smith said today, maybe in the nation. Irreplaceable.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Any thought of taking Kemmetmueller off third base is nuts. She's surely the best defensive thirdbase[wo]man in the BIG, and, as Erika Smith said today, maybe in the nation. Irreplaceable.

DH is the correct spot for Costa. Hansen will have to play first.
 

Jaydee

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Any thought of taking Kemmetmueller off third base is nuts. She's surely the best defensive thirdbase[wo]man in the BIG, and, as Erika Smith said today, maybe in the nation. Irreplaceable.
I was ok with keeping her at 3rd last year when she was hitting ~.200. Too solid to replace, especially now with the best slugging% on the team.
 

Hrothgar

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Moving forward, I am hoping the coaching staff rotates RF, 1B, and possibly DH with Hansen, Dray, Denson or Lindner. If none can improve their hitting and deserve the consistent start, then the coaches can continue going to the bench.

Does Kemetmueller play outfield or 1B? Or Costa 1B? Sure hate losing her bat right now and with Costa's 3B debut at the plate, WOW!!!!

Keep it up Jensen and Denhartog. Welcome Home to both of you.

Feel for Fiser. She is absolutely not herself. Not what us MN fans have seen since she became a Gopher.
Gophers aren't likely to go far w/o the pitcher who took them to the WCWS at her best. She's lost pinpoint location & is pitching from behind in way too many counts.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I didn’t watch the game today, it is the first game of the year that I have missed viewing on BTN+, but now that I look at the box score and see four (4) errors... yikes! That ain’t great.

I have been a proponent of the Strelow to short stop position switch for a month now and am so juiced that they tried that position assignment out today, but obviously the overall team defense can’t continuously be this problematic. I think I understand now the balance that the coaches have been considering for weeks. A team and it’s pitchers need sufficient defensive support.

Still, my preferred lineup as of today so as to see the team score the most runs per game is probably something like:

Partain - 4
Jensen - 7
Kemmetmueller - 5
DenHartog - 8
Hansen - 3
Kinch - 2
Strelow - 6
Costa - DH
Denson - 9
 

rowdaboat

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Dray would be first one I'd bench, has one more year eligibility but Kinch higher upside to be playing
 

Hrothgar

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I didn’t watch the game today, it is the first game of the year that I have missed viewing on BTN+, but now that I look at the box score and see four (4) errors... yikes! That ain’t great.

I have been a proponent of the Strelow to short stop position switch for a month now and am so juiced that they tried that position assignment out today, but obviously the overall team defense can’t continuously be this problematic. I think I understand now the balance that the coaches have been considering for weeks. A team and it’s pitchers need sufficient defensive support.

Still, my preferred lineup as of today so as to see the team score the most runs per game is probably something like:

Partain - 4
Jensen - 7
Kemmetmueller - 5
DenHartog - 8
Hansen - 3
Kinch - 2
Strelow - 6
Costa - DH
Denson - 9
Good batting order. Get Jensen & Denson running the bases (plus they rhyme!). Like you, I watch every Gopher game & root for them like mad & I promise myself I'll quit posting here & just enjoy the games. Yet a person sees so many questionable things. Most noticeable is the team's general passivity, especially at the plate. Way too many Ks w/o swinging at a single pitch. Yesterday they had bases loaded (6th inn. I believe) & scored 2 runs but only by hit batter & a BB. That's when bats should really come alive. In the circle, Pease pitches to contact & succeeds bec. she gets ahead in the counts. Fiser is a power pitcher, but it's hard to get Ks if she's behind in counts. That's not like her. Is she pitching through an injury? They desperately need Kemmetmueller at 3rd & better defense at 1st. Now I'll stop & watch a DH.
 

4EverAGopher

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How did Dray become a Gopher? So far I haven't seen anything that stands out and can really help us either defensively or offensively, where we need it

Kinch is our starting catcher. Would love to see her bat catch fire too.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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How did Dray become a Gopher? So far I haven't seen anything that stands out and can really help us either defensively or offensively, where we need it

Kinch is our starting catcher. Would love to see her bat catch fire too.

I think the coaches thought they had a good team coming into this season, but were uncertain at Catcher and to a lessor extent, First. Dray entered the transfer portal last Fall and she was one of the best players on the North Carolina team and our coaches thought it was worth having more experience at those positions and therefore she was a good insurance get for the team if they were going to make a run as far as they could go. My guess is Ritter had to sell it to the AD as well.

We do have a big roster. It shows when considering all of the players we would like to see play that are not getting much playing opportunity.
 

Jaydee

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Gophers aren't likely to go far w/o the pitcher who took them to the WCWS at her best. She's lost pinpoint location & is pitching from behind in way too many counts.
It'd be nice to get big enough lead for Ansleigh and Kianna pitching out the rest one of the weekend games
I agree about Amber. Hard to say what it is but it seems like she’s lost something from 2 years ago. By the looks of it, Piper doesn’t intend to put in any relievers besides Dueck. I haven’t seen Ansleigh or Kianna even warming up.
 

4EverAGopher

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You look at our opponents so far this season and you see better all around hitting teams than the Gophers. But yet, when we go to play these teams, we have been winning the series. That is also with a struggling Fiser and not necessarily a strong 7 inning pitcher in Pease.

Love love watching Partain at the plate. She always makes it look so so easy. Just easy swing and goes with the pitch. In my book, just an outstanding batter and happy to see some of these incoming Gopher Freshman can get great pointers to improve their plate performance by watching her.
 
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rowdaboat

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Do they have any pitchers committed for next year? Tough to go into a year with one star pitcher and 10 innings combined from the rest
 
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