Softball finding success with the long ball in 2016

It’s all fun and games until somebody launches a home run over the fence, which has been the main theme for South Dakota State softball this season.

    Through their first 38 games of the season, the Jackrabbits have launched 36 home runs while their opponents have hit just 18 against them. 

    The majority of these home runs have come from two players, one of whom has based her career around hitting the long ball while the other hopes to take the SDSU home run crown away from her. 

    Devan Larsen, who broke the program record for career home runs, 26, earlier this season, has launched nine dingers so far this season, bringing her career total to 32. 

    Unfortunately for Larsen, her career is coming to an end and freshman teammate Ali Herdliska is trying to set her own records, which would break some of the ones Larsen set this season and last season. 

    During the 2015 season, Larsen hit 16 home runs, setting a single season record for SDSU. Through 36 games, Herdliska has hit a team-leading 12 home runs with 18 games left in the regular season to break the record. Based on her one home run for every three games played consistency so far this season, Herdliska could very well break the record by the end of the regular season. 

    As for the team, head coach Krista Wood has continued to make strides with the program. 

    In her second year with the team, the Jackrabbits are 14-24, just nine games away from tying last year’s 23 wins, the most the program has had since 2006.

    One thing to keep the Jacks going is the fact that they have yet to play a home game, something that is customary for the softball team. Last year’s team played its first home game April 4 while SDSU will host its first home game of the 2016 season Wednesday. 

    After this, the Jacks will be able to find comfort at home as they will spend the next two weeks playing games in Brookings, totaling 12 games at home in that time. Of their final 18 games, 15 of them will be played at home with the other three coming against IPFW in Fort Wayne.

    SDSU currently sits fifth in Summit League softball standings behind North Dakota State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of South Dakota and Western Illinois University.