Softball Preview: Mavs ready to ball out

Aaron Young
Staff Writer

The girls are back on the road this weekend to kick off the Kelly Laas Memorial Invite in St. Cloud Minnesota, playing in series’ against the following teams on the weekend: a doubleheader versus the Missouri Western State Griffons this Thursday, the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers on Saturday, and the Fort Hays State Tigers, followed by the Southwest Baptist Bearcats the same day in a double header on Sunday.

The giants of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference are ready to cause havoc and squash whoever steps in their way throughout the weekend.

The Minnesota State Mavericks (4-0) appear once again at the top of the rankings in the country for D-II softball, receiving 14 of 16 votes. The Mavs are one of two teams in the conference in the top 25, with the other being Winona St. at No. 19.

At the forefront for the team is pitcher Mackenzie Ward, who dominated the mound this last weekend, eventually being named the NSIC pitcher of the week. Coming out of the weekend with a 3-0 record and ERA of 0.00, she left half her opponents in frustration striking out 10 and giving up a .234 BA. The freshman shined in her debut, leaving Missouri Western State scoreless in not 1, but 2 games. No doubt she will be prepared to throw high heat against the Griffons.

At the plate are two juggernauts in Jessica Meidl and McKenzie Paap. For Paap, the senior walks into Thursday with a team-high 10 hits, a BA of .625 and a slugging percentage of .938. Never mind the 6 runs she has driven in with her bat. Paap tallied up a team-high 8 runs and .389 BA, stealing 2 bases in the process.

Not too far behind on the stats sheet are two freshmen in Torey Richards and Hannah Hastings. Richards managed to rack up six hits and six runs with a BA of .500 in four games. Center fielder Hastings made the most of her opportunity so far posting a BA of .600 to go along with 3 hits and two runs.

This weekend will be full of highly competitive play for the Mavericks. The team looks to defend their no. 1 ranking, stymieing anybody that buck horns with them. Tune in tonight for the first game of a doubleheader tonight at 4:30 and see what the softball team has in store this time around. In the last rodeo with the Griffons last week, the Mavericks swept the Griffons in the season opening series, but anything can happen during this time around the diamond.

Photo: (Courtesy of msumavericks.com)

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