The St. Olaf Softball team will enter the 2021 season ranked 14th in the country according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Poll. The ranking is the highest in the program’s history, and it’s matched by the equally high expectations of a team poised for a championship run come April.
After going 7-1 last spring before the pandemic canceled their season, the team will return most of its starting lineup, led by All-MIAC honorees Ally Bode ’21 and Tarah DeCrook ’22, along with seniors Jordan Melz ’21 and Hannah Mathies ’21. Most notably – and to the dismay of the Oles’ opponents this season – will be the return of fifth-year senior Julie Graf ’21, the greatest softball player to ever dawn the black and gold. Graf’s accomplishments are well known at this point, surpassing St. Thomas’ Janet Nagle as the MIAC’s all-time leader in strikeouts in just her junior year, along with numerous other achievements that place her on the Mt. Rushmore of Division III pitchers to play in the last decade.
While this may be the most accomplished roster Head Coach Kayla Hatting has ever had in her time at St. Olaf, there’s one thing they’re missing: a championship banner. Beyond the rankings and records, that’s all this season will be about for the Oles, and we’ll be following along closely to cover all the action as the season unfolds.