BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The Summit League softball tournament is set to begin Wednesday in Brookings. SDSU is the back-to-back champions, the Jacks are hoping for a three peat.
SDSU continued their reign in the Summit League, going 17-0 in conference play, despite having a new coach in the dugout.
“When there’s a coaching change, it’s just so hard, it’s adversity. This team is so special because they welcomed me with open arms. And really, and truly it’s because of them,” SDSU Coach of the Year Kristina McSweeney said.
The Jackrabbits lead the conference in scoring with 226 runs and 26 homeruns. Much of that success can be credited to their attention to detail.
“We have this little chart in the dugout where we track every pitch that we’re getting as hitters, so that we’re knowing what she’s pitching, everybody in our lineup, what we can expect for our next step at bat, what we took advantage of in our previous at bat and just to be on our toes every single part of the game. Which I think coach McSweeney really implemented to us even at practice,” SDSU outfielder Jocelyn Carrillo.
On the other side of the ball, State has been led by Tori Kniesche, who leads the conference in wins and owns a 1.43 earned run average.
“My freshman year coming in when I first won it I came in, not a lot of people had a lot of scouting report on me and I had nothing to lose. Last year, a lot of the teams knew what to expect when I was on the mound, so I had to rebuild myself,” SDSU Pitcher of the Year Tori Kniesche said.
The Jacks find that pressure is privilege, headed into the season and now the playoffs. With a target on their backs, SDSU remains focused on themselves.
“We need to stay right here, we just need to be where our feet are, just being in this moment, take care of it. Just do what we need to do, do what we implement into our program and what we practice on every single day,” Carillo said.
Kniesche was named Pitcher of the Year, while coach McSweeney won Coach of the Year. SDSU will play either USD or North Dakota, on Thursday at 11 a.m.