By Jack Wozniak – [email protected]
Of all of the MIAC playoff tournaments, the softball playoffs may be the most challenging to reach; only four teams from the conference earn the privilege to compete for the title of MIAC champion.
While the end of the season tournament is a long way down the road, the St. Ben’s softball team started off their conference games strong. The Blazers went 6-0 in two doubleheaders and outscored their opponents—Concordia, St. Mary’s and Carleton—56-11.
Junior pitcher Kiela DeVlaeminck is happy to see the team’s effort showing in the games.
“I believe the team is feeling confident,” DeVlaeminck said. “Starting MIAC play is very exciting and it’s fun to see all the hard work paying off.”
Sophomore outfielder Kate Deming agreed, but stressed that the team is still looking forward.
“It always feels good to start off MIAC 4-0,” Deming said. “We know that we still have work to do and are not going to settle just yet. Although we are working very well together right now, I believe that we still have a lot to improve on before MIAC playoffs.”
The Blazers have a long time to work out any kinks, with 16 games left to play, the team is still very much in the heart of their season.
At this time of year, it’s easy for a team to start to look too far into the future. With that in mind, Head Coach Rachael Click is making sure that the team focuses on the present.
“We talked about how each win gives a point, and one win over a certain team isn’t weighted differently than a win over a different team,” Click said. “So they have been really focused on wanting to get that one point, no matter who we are playing.”
Click’s words seem to resonate with her team as her players’ opinions reflect her mantra.
“We are taking it one game at a time knowing that every game is important and cannot be taken lightly,” DeVlaemink said. “As we continue through the season, I believe we are becoming more and more prepared for playoffs.”
The Blazers will continue their preparation in the next week with games against Gustavus Adolphus on April 8 and Augsburg on the April 9.
With such a busy schedule, the Blazers look to continue playing with their aggressive style. DeVlaeminck credited their “attack” mentality for their success, and Click emphasized that an aggressive style of play will be important in future games.
“We’ve talked a lot with our athletes about being aggressive at the plate and swinging at the first strike or the second strike and not getting down in the count,” Click said. “That aggressive mentality carries over with hits and runs.”
The team is confident and if they keep this play up, they should be in the mix for playoffs.
Last year CSB missed the postseason with a seventh place finish. Offensive ability looks to be the Blazers’ driving force so far, but they have also been very sound defensively and their pitching staff has been solid for most of the season.
FEATURE PHOTO COURTESY OF CSB MEDIA RELATIONS