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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Softball looks to capitalize on strong start to spring season

<ite a small roster size and various injuries, Carleton Softball has put together a solid start to their season. After obtaining a 10-28 overall record last season (4-18 in MIAC play), the Knights have righted the ship so far this spring.

They are already close to exceeding their win total from last year and currently sit at 9-9 overall. After starting 4-0 here in Minnesota, they traveled down to Florida over Spring Break, going 3-5 versus extremely tough competition. After returning, they have gone 2-4 in their first MIAC action.
Anna Lauko is leading the team in hitting at a .471 clip, while Sam Kile is dominating on the mound with a 7-3 record and a 1.78 ERA in 63 innings pitched.

Head Coach Amy Erickson is pleased with the way her team has started the season. She said, “Our focus is to always improve each practice and game and I think we’ve done that and are really gelling as a team.”

In her 19th season as Carleton’s Head Softball Coach, and the all-time winningest coach in Carleton College history, she is looking to lead the Knights back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

According to Erickson, to make the playoffs the Knights will have to play “consistently well throughout each inning/game.” She said, “Our conference is very tough, so minimizing errors on defense and executing our offensive plan will be vital to be successful in the MIAC.”
Up to this point, Erickson believes her squad is honed in on perfecting the mental game. She has been impressed by her player’s resilience and present moment focus.

“We are doing a good job of playing the WHOLE game from inning 1 to inning 7 and sticking with our game plan no matter what each inning brings,” she said. “This has helped us to focus on the moment and not look to the end of the game or hang on to the beginning of the game.”

In particular, she has been impressed by a few of her great players. She said, “It probably goes without me saying, but Sam Kile has done a great job on the mound, giving us consistently solid outings and giving us an opportunity to win games. Katie Eppard has been really strong at the plate, both starting rallies and driving in runs.”

But according to Erickson, those two players are not the only reason why her team has had a fantastic start. Erickson claims their success is based on the fact that they “have been playing great TEAM softball, supporting each other and picking each other up on both sides of the ball.”

To continue to win games, the Knights will have to perform well at all facets of the game. Specifically, Emily Boxrud ’19 believes her team needs to continue to hit well and put up runs.

“We really just need to continue jumping on the ball when we’re up to bat,” Boxrud said. “Every game that we’ve been aggressive offensively, we’ve won.”

Boxrud also has been impressed by her team’s defense behind Kile. “Our defensive play is pretty spot-on,” she said. “We’ve had some really amazing plays made on the field.” On the flip side, she believes her team can improve by being smarter on the bases.

“We have an aggressive approach to base running,” Boxrud said, “so sometimes we have the issue of getting too many runners out from stealing bases.”

Erickson said her team can also work on being more consistent every day her team takes the field. She said, “Our goal is to always play with consistency and we haven’t quite done that in all facets of our game. That’s what we always focus on improving.”

With a roster of 13 players but with a few injured players, Natalie Maurice ’20 says it doesn’t affect the team too much, but it changes some of the things they are doing. “Safety is a big priority this year because we can’t afford to lose any players. Also, everyone is ready to step up and do what the team needs. This means playing some positions they might not be as comfortable at. Overall, it has also created more of a bond between players because there aren’t as many of us.”

In spite of various injuries and a lack of depth so far this season, the Knights have shown to be a resilient and extremely talented group of student-athletes. They look to continue their quest for a MIAC playoff berth tomorrow vs. Augsburg College.

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