Softball team vows to never settle

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU softball team may be young and light on numbers, but Coach Shane Bouman is excited about his squad and their upcoming schedule.

Consequently, the team has adopted and installed the motto of “We Will Win, Never Settle, Watch Us Prove It!! Let’s Roll!!!” for this upcoming season to prove SDSU will be a force to reckon with in the NCC this year.

Even though the Jacks have only achieved two winning seasons since 1980, Bouman is confident that the softball team will have its third winning season this year, en route to reaching the NCAA Regional Tournament this year.

The Jacks are coming off a 22-29 season with a 5-11 record in conference action in Bouman’s first year as a SDSU coach.

The team’s stats were near the middle of the NCC last year. That is something the team is looking to improve.

This year’s roster consists of one senior, four juniors, five sophomores, and five freshmen. The Jacks return eight letter winners after losing six players from last year’s squad.

“All 15 players will have an opportunity to step up and lead this season to make an impact on our program,” Bouman said.

The only senior on the SDSU roster is infielder Jill Hlavaveck. Coach Bouman praised Hlavaveck’s work ethic and is looking for overall improvement in her game this season.

Juniors on the roster include catcher Holly Altermatt, infielders Stephanie Kimes, Lindsay Distel, and outfielder Emily Haywood.

Jackrabbit sophomores are middle infielder Mandi Geis, utility player Cara Ellwanger, outfielders Ashley Kalina, Alissa Bernth, and Bobbie Jo Mitchell.

With SDSU losing its top two pitchers from last season, Bouman will be counting on freshmen Jackie Sorenson and Meggan Staton to step in and produce.

Sorenson finished her high school career with 149 wins at Tiffin, Iowa, while Staton was a Minnesota All-State player in both softball and volleyball.

Other freshmen newcomers are infielder Ali Adair, outfielder Gabby Smith, and catcher Amy Wittgenstein.

“We’re a young team, but our girls have a lot of game experience and expect to win immediately,” Bouman said. “They’ll have that opportunity this year.”

The NCC is continually one of the best softball conferences in Division II. Combined with a grueling non-conference schedule that may push the season to well over 60 games, the young team will be afforded the chance to show their improvement throughout the season.

“We look forward to playing the best teams in Division II this season,” Bouman said. “We want to be one of the best teams by the end of the season.”

Another new addition for the Jacks this season is the presence of Gerice Olson as a graduate assistant coach. Olson brings experience as a member of a national championship team for NDSU a few seasons ago.

Her insight will prove valuable to this young softball team.

“She knows how to win and will teach our girls how to win,” Bouman said. “She fits in well with our expectations.”

The women play their first home game April 2. The team plays at Southbrook Park, located on 22nd Ave South approximately two miles south of Highway 14.

“We’ll be an exciting team to watch,” Bouman promised.