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2019 St. Cloud State Softball Preview

01/23/2019 - 3:30 PM

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2019 St. Cloud State Softball Preview
2019 Huskies Softball Team Photo

 Even though the temperatures are in the negative degrees in the middle of January, it’s never too early to look ahead at the upcoming 2019 St. Cloud State Softball Season. The Huskies are coming off an impressive 35-19 overall regular season record and a 20-10 conference record in the NSIC, finishing fourth in the conference. The Lady Huskies then moved on to the postseason and saw a tough ending to their season.

 

“It was a really fun season going fourth in the conference,” said 22nd-year head coach Paula U’Ren, “We were pretty bummed losing that first game (Northern State), we felt like that was a pretty good matchup for us…but we came back and beat our rival Mankato and we just ran out of gas for that last game. We finished 8th in the region and they pick the top eight teams for playoffs, however, one of the teams…Emporia, who was not ranked, ended up winning their conference championship and got the automatic bid which pushed us out to 9th. That left a pretty sour taste in our mouth that we were that close for an opportunity to get into the NCAA postseason, I felt like the players really were on a mission this summer with their strength and skill workouts and you can see that this year coming into our practices.”
 
2019’s edition of St. Cloud State Softball is infused with both youth and experience. The Huskies have just one player to replace in since-graduated starting shortstop Libby Bingham, and again carry a light senior class with three. 
Along with a strong freshman class, there is plenty of talent coming back for this season. Bradi Yost will be back in the circle for her final year. Yost had an overall record of 10-2 with a team-best 2.47 ERA and U’ren expects another dominant year out of her righthander. The Huskies will boast a strong staff led by Yost, sophomore Kylie Thomsen and senior Kate Kopek. 
 
“For our game everything starts in the pitching circle, and we love our pitching staff this year,” said U’Ren, “Kate Kopeck threw a lot of our tough games last year, so she took a couple dings in the loss column. But we were putting her against the top teams, I felt like that really built her up for that experience going into later in the season. So, she is coming back strong and Bradi is a good compliment to her. Ky is a little dinged up right now but she is working back, hopefully we will get her full speed by the time we head off for March. Emma Murphy picked up valuable innings for us last year when Kate was hurt. We have another addition with Sydney Lapoint who is a top-rated pitcher out of Wisconsin; we feel she will be a pretty tough pitcher to face and has great composure on the mound for a Freshman. Overall, we are going to have to figure out how to utilize that staff this spring.” 
 
Just like the pitching, the offense this year will be stacked as well. Returning for her final season, Morgan Emmans has had an impressive career with SCSU. Coming off a red-hot first year, Hayley McFarlane will be in the lineup for her sophomore campaign. And the team-leader in batting average from a year ago, Maya Keating (.379) looks to keep those numbers up in her junior year.
 
“We keep figuring out who is going to be our big hitters in the middle,” U’Ren said, “Morgan, she really wants to do everything that she can this year; so, we have been actually trying to tell her she doesn’t have to do everything with one swing. Alexis Jacobs, she is a junior this year, she has been lights out in practice. Two years, she has experience, she had a tremendous preseason here and had a great Fall. I have like she is going to compliment; and then we have Megan Conrad. Just a scrappy hitter that has some power but also some speed on the bases to be that ‘tweener. And then, for some speed we have Brooke Bowlin and Maya Keating. So, hopefully we can build some of our speed and some of our power and I think we are going to have a pretty talented line-up from top to bottom.” 
 
Per the usual, U’Ren has set lofty goals for her team.
 
“For our pitching staff we have some high expectations,” U’Ren explained, “We have been really talking about keeping that pitching staff ERA somewhere from two and a half to three. Trying to get some strikeouts in there, we feel really good about out ball movement, get ahead in the count. So, for our pitching staff, again we have some high expectations for them because there are some really good hitting that we are going to face. Defensively, we’ve set up some goals that we want to be a defensive team somewhere around .970, which is trying to limit those errors to one or two a game and try not to give up any extra bases. We have Morgan Emmans who I feel is probably one of the top catchers in the region. She has a cannon for an arm, she is great back there, so I think she is going to try to limit some of the running game of the other team. If you haven’t seen her… she is about 6’1, strong as a brick house and pretty intimidating behind the plate, so we have a good opportunity to stop some running. Hitting, we are talking about quality at-bats. Get up there and try and make some loud outs; attack the ball and take our walks when we get them, but we are up there to be aggressive and hit a lot of doubles and hopefully the ball will carry over for some homeruns.” 
 
The season kicks off on February 1st with the Kelly Laas Memorial Tournament at the Husky Dome. The Huskies will start out against Nebraska-Kearney on the first day then clash with Missouri Western State and UW-Parkside on Saturday. Things wrap up on February 3 with a second tilt against the Rangers. This opening weekend is one the Huskies are really excited for. There will be a ton of competitive Softball on this weekend and all throughout this upcoming season. You can catch the action on the KVSC Sports Stream all season long. 
 
Full interview with head coach Paula U'Ren

Sports Schedule

  • Women's Basketball vs Bemidji State University (Sports Stream)
    Feb 22, 2019 - 5:30
  • Men's Basketball vs Bemidji State University (Sports Stream)
    Feb 22, 2019 - 7:30
  • Women's Basketball vs Minnesota Crookston (Sports Stream)
    Feb 23, 2019 - 3:30

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