Softball gets better in Florida

The Minnesota State softball team dominated the Spring Games down in Florida during spring break last week. The Mavericks participated in 10 games during their stay in Clermont and impressed many, going 9-1 overall.

Head coach for the Mavericks, Lori Meyer said the Spring Games are always a fun and competitive time.

“It’s called the Spring Games and you can sign up to play as many as you want so I signed us up for 10 games,” Meyer said. “What really got us down there was the weather. With climate problems it’s hard for us to get outside so this was a great way for us to play on the field in better weather but also the teams. We played some very good teams from all around.”

MSU started their break with two games Saturday, March 5. At noon the Mavs matched up against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, defeating the Crimson Hawks 2-0 in eight innings. The Maverick’s sophomore pitcher Libby Bemis notched the win, pitching a complete game for the Purple and Gold and going 2-1 on the season so far. Bemis also earned a new career high striking out 11 IUP players.

In the second game of the trip the Mavericks took on Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania at 2 p.m. after the IUP victory. During this game junior pitcher Coley Ries struck out 15 batters. With the double digit strike outs, Ries moved to third all-time on MSU’s list. The Purple and Gold cruised to an 8-3 victory over the Rock.

Sunday brought on two new competitors for the Mavericks. First of the day, MSU played St. Joseph’s College. The Pumas were no match for the Mavs as they captured their third victory of the trip with a 6-1 score.

The second game saw Reis pitch again while striking out nine Saginaw Valley State players. Ries let only two runs in and the Purple and Gold finished day two with a 7-2 victory.

Bemis and Ries saw plenty of mound time over the week and coach Meyer emphasized how much their play had an impact on the team’s success.

”I feel very comfortable that we have a very solid pitching staff,” Coach Meyer said. “We really have solid starters and I think that’s going to set teams apart in our conference.”

Monday brought two more games for MSU. The Mavericks suited up early for their 8 a.m. game and defeated Lees-Mcrae College 8-0. To round out the morning, MSU claimed a 4-0 victory over Northwood University.

Going into day four of the Spring Games, the Mavericks were undefeated. The Tuesday afternoon started off with a huge 10-0 victory over Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania but MSU’s second opponent of the day would be tough. The Mavericks fell to the University of Southern Indiana in nine innings by a score of 2-3. The USI Eagles gave the Mavs their first loss of the break but the Purple and Gold would bounce back.

The Mavericks got a break Wednesday but were right back into the action Thursday afternoon with their last two games of the trip, defeating Edinboro University 2-1 and Ohio Dominican University 2-0 completing the trip 9-1.

After the games were over, the players were able to enjoy a good amount of sun before returning to the cold and windy Minnesota region.

“We had one off day,” Coach Meyer said. “The girls got to go out, the ocean was a popular site, and then lots of shopping. It was so great because many parents made the trip too so it was awesome to have the support.”

The Mavericks will head down to Missouri for the Missouri Western Tournament Friday, March 18. They will play against six different schools at a neutral site in St. Joseph, Missouri before heading back to Mankato to start NSIC play March 22.

Photo: Coley Ries dominated in Florida, helping her earn NSIC pitcher of the week. She went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA down south. She allowed five hits and struck out 36 batters over the week. (Courtesy of Minnesota State Athletics)

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