Believe it or not the Augie softball team will throw out their first pitch one month from today. Thanks to the Sanford Fieldhouse the high powered Viking offense can prepare to take on the defending National Champions.
This year's Augustana team will be looking to build off of their 33-16 record from 2013. However Skipper Gretta Melsted changed up her philosophy a bit by bringing in two JUCO transfers to add to an already impressive line up.
"I felt like we needed some help in a couple position, so we went out and recruited to fill them. We have a lot of new players, so you will see a lot of new faces, but it will be the same type of Augie softball that people expect," Augustana Head Coach Gretta Melsted said.
One thing fans can expect this year is another strong performance from junior Jenelle Trautmann. Not only did she account for 25 wins on the mound, but for the second year in a row she racked up 18 home runs. The slugger only needs eight more to break the team's career record and she has all the support from her teammates.
"She is very intense and a very hard worker, but there is no one else I'd rather be out on the field with and playing behind," Vikings Junior Erin Kempf said.
"I expect her to take off, she has had a wonderful fall. She is pitching really well and I expect her hitting to be the way it has always been, which is extremely strong. She is a powerful hitter and one of the best in the conference," Melsted said.
The Vikings finished sixth in the Northern Sun Conference a year ago and made it all the way to Regionals in the Division II tournament. This year they open up their season against the defending National Champions from Central Oklahoma, but this team is excited for the challenge.
"I think we are pretty confident and we won't let it get to our head. A win against them would really boost our team confidence and we could really use that," Kempf said.
Last year the Vikings played Central Oklahoma twice splitting the season series with the eventual champions.