This past weekend, the Minnesota State Mavericks women’s softball team opened their season with the Minnesota State D-II Softball Classic, where they won four out of five games.
The Mavericks hosted the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats, Emporia State Hornets, and the Lewis University Flyers in the newly built Maverick All-Sports Dome.
Junior Hailey Forshee and junior Emma Schifferle both agreed that the new sports dome is great for the whole team to set up on the field and to practice skills such as catching fly balls.
The first game was against Northwest Missouri State, who started the game with a run right away in the first inning. Bearcat senior Sydne Brashear hit a single to center field and advanced to second base on the throw leading to sophomore Olivia Daugherty to score.
After getting three outs, the Mavericks were able to come back with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Maverick junior Torey Richards hit a line-drive to the infield where senior Carly Esselman scored at home. The game remained quiet until the top of the fourth inning, where the Bearcats managed to bring in another run from senior Kaitlyn Weis, who scored off senior Karli Allen’s ground ball to second base.
Things heated up in the sixth inning for both the Bearcats and the Mavericks, where each team scored two runs. In the top of the inning, Bearcat sophomore Madison Friest hit a double to left center, causing Allen to advance to third and senior Erin Keeney scored.
Shortly after, freshman Abby Notle hit a fly ball to center field, where Friest ran to third and Allen scored. The Mavericks executed by turning things around in the bottom of the sixth, as Richards and Forshee were able to score. The Mavericks fell short and lost their first game 3-4.
The Mavericks easily made a comeback in their second game Friday night against Emporia State, when they won 3-0. The game didn’t really begin until the fourth inning, where Maverick freshman Sydney Nelson knocked out a two-run homerun to left field, scoring freshman Sydney Nielsen to home. Later that inning Esselman made it to first on a fielding error by the shortstop and sophomore Kayla Moky scored.
The Mavericks started their Saturday games off against Northwest once again and this time they were able to pull through with a 7-0 win. In the first inning, Richards hit a single to shortstop and Esselman advanced to home for the first score of the game. To follow in the second inning, Moky hit a single up the middle allowing Nelson to score. After some quiet time, the Mavericks came back in the fifth inning with scores from junior Courtney Potter, Moky, and freshman Madi Newman. To shut the game out in the sixth inning, Schifferle and Potter scored on a throwing error.
In the second game of the day against Emporia State, the Mavericks continued to bring the heat with a 12-7 win. In the top of the first inning, Mankato came to play and showed it by scoring nine runs right away. Esselman started the team off with a home run to centerfield, and Forshee and Nielsen followed by scoring after a fielding error from the Hornets.
Schifferle reached on a fielder’s choice and tried to advance to second but got out while Richards scored. Hastings later scored off of Nelson’s single hit to left center. Moky, Potter, and Nelson scored when Esselman reached on a fielding error and also advanced to second on the throw. To end the top of the first, Forshee hit a double to left field and Esselman scored at home. The Emporia State Hornets attempted to catch up in the bottom of the first inning with two runs. Sophomore Brylie Bassett hit a double to right center granting freshman Abbey Ward to score. To follow this, junior Gabby Biondo hit a single to left field and advanced to second on the throw and senior Hannah Steeby advanced to third while Bassett scored. The Hornets continued to score in the second inning with junior Maddy Broxterman and Ward scoring on a single from junior Rachel Kauss. Succeeding this, Kauss scored off a single from Steeby. The Mavericks came back in the fifth inning when Forshee hit a single up the middle with Esselman and Moky scoring. In the sixth inning, Hornet junior Cassidy Beem hit a double down the infield line in order for sophomore Brittanie Shepherd to score at home. Following this, junior Destiny Ojigoh was thrown out at second while Beem scored. To end the game, Maverick Newman hit a single up the middle, bringing Esselman to home plate.
To finish off the weekend, the Mavericks played against the Flyers on Sunday afternoon and took the game 6-4. The Flyers started the game in the third inning when senior Cierra Taylor hit a single to center field, bringing in sophomore Sara Serena and senior Jessica Lofthouse. In the bottom of the third, the Mavericks recovered with five runs from Moky, Esselman, Hastings, and a home run from Potter. The Mavericks continued this into the fourth inning with a double to center field from Esselman that led to a run from Moky. The Flyers scored two more runs in the seventh inning from senior Olivia Magaldi and freshman Carrie Anderson, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Mavericks.
Some things the Mavericks are looking forward to this season are traveling to Florida in early March and playing with a versatile team, which will help the girls grow as stronger players. After a few more weeks of practices, the Mavericks will take part in the Emporia State Softball Classic from Feb. 21-23 and play against Missouri Western State, Missouri Southern State, Washburn University, Emporia State, Northwest Missouri State, and Nebraska-Kearney.
Header photo: Minnesota State pitcher Mackenzie Ward (17) pitches the ball against Lewis University at the Maverick All-Sports Dome Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020 in Mankato Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)