The Augustana softball team finished conference play 27-3, earning Augie the 2-seed in this week’s NSIC Tournament.
Augustana closed the regular season with 47 wins, marking the Vikings’ third straight 40-win campaign, but the team understands regular season success means little come playoff time.
“It’s a good pressure that hangs over us. It helps us stay motivated. It really doesn’t slip out of your mind then because our fate is in our own hands, and we got to take care of business,” Senior Catcher Maggie Kadrlik said.
Augie’s offense has been a catalyst all year. The Vikings can hit for both average and power, leading the NSIC in nearly every statistical category.
“It could be a home run, it could be a double, it could be a single, we could string it together. We’re very balanced compared to some of the years where we’ve had just all power, and we have a lot of speed,” Head Coach Greta Melsted said.
Having the league’s top offense has also helped instill confidence in the field and circle.
“It really gives me confidence, and gives the defense confidence too going out there. Kind of helps us calm our nerves when we know our offense will always be able to punch back when someone punches at us,” Sophomore Pitcher Ashley Mickschl said.
With the pitching trio of Ashley Mickschl, Amber Elliott, and Olivia Wolters all ranking near the top of the league in ERA, Augustana has pitching depth for the postseason.
“We have three very, very legitimate pitchers. So we can really try to be as strategic as possible in who we’re throwing, best matchups against certain swings of other teams,” Melsted said.
Add it all up and the Vikings are optimistic about their NCAA Tournament chances, with an ultimate goal of qualifying for the world series.
“It’s our goal. It’s what we spoke about at the very first meeting we had. It’s what I spoke about since I committed here. It’s what I want to do, it’s what our team wants to do, it would just mean the world to us,” Kadrlik said.
The NSIC softball tournament starts Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota.