Even though snow still covers campus, the St Olaf softball team kicked off their season on Feb. 18 against Bethany Lutheran College. The team ended these games with two losses (0-2, 5-6), but bounced back Feb. 23 with two wins against Martin Luther College (9-2, 3-0). Pitcher Julie Graf ’20 struck out 16 batters on her way to throwing a no-hitter. She only surrendered one walk in throwing the second no-hitter of her college career. Augsburg went without hits via Graf in the MIAC playoffs last spring.
Captain Emily Carr ’19 said she is excited for the rest of the season.
“I’m looking forward to winning a ton of games and enjoying one last season with the best gals around,” Carr said.
The team was ranked fourth in the preseason polls, but their goals are set high, ready to improve. This year, the team recruited eight first-years who Carr believes will bring a lot to the team.
“Non-conference games allow us to prepare for a strong conference season and will enable us to potentially receive bids for the national tournament.” – Julie Graf ’20
“They all play a lot of important roles, but more importantly they add to the atmosphere of the team and have helped build amazing team chemistry,” Carr said. “They have such passion for the game and are incredibly hard workers. They’re awesome softball players, but even better people and have had a huge impact in shaping our team into what it is. ”
With this addition of new talent, the team is expecting to continue this winning streak.
The softball team is also hoping to continue improving throughout the season. After the first two losses, Carr said the team needs to focus on keeping their goals at the forefront if their minds. Even though the season is fresh, non-conference games are important for national rankings.
“Non-conference games allow us to prepare for a strong conference season and will enable us to potentially receive bids for the national tournament later down the line,” Graf said.
The team notes the importance of creating bonds with one another to make gains as a team over the course of the season.
St. Olaf is looking to continue its winning streak against UW-River Falls and Luther College on March 2.