Luther College Chips

Softball moves up to eighth in national poll

Paige Timmerman (‘20) catches a ground ball.

Paige Timmerman (‘20) catches a ground ball.

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Paige Timmerman (‘20) catches a ground ball.

Olivia Enquist, Staff Writer

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Luther Women’s Softball started their season strong by winning both of their indoor Rochester Dome games on Feb. 24 and winning three of their four games on March 3-4. The team is currently ranked eighth nationally in the NCAA Division III Top-25 national poll by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). With these recent wins Luther moves up one position from the pre-season standing.

“Our goal is to be in the top 25 at all times,” Head Softball Coach and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Renae Hartl said. “The seniors this year have never not been in the poll every single week of their career, but it isn’t something that we really talk about. You could talk to the girls and I bet that they wouldn’t even know what we’re ranked. It’s fun to just maintain that high level of standards at all times.”

The team’s practice schedule started on Jan. 23, giving them a month of practices before their first game. They attended their first games of the season at the Dome Tournament in Rochester, Minnesota on Feb. 24. The Norse played against The University of Wisconsin-Stout and Carroll University. The team credited the construction of the blue turf field as something that has given them more opportunities to practice skills outside.

“Practices have been going well,” Hartl said. “For starters, we have had some great weather, but it’s the addition of the blue turf that’s been really refreshing. That’s been the neatest part about our preseason and it’s been different because of that. We went outside yesterday for probably the fourth time already.”

Anna Strien (‘18) stated that the team’s cohesiveness is a formula for their success.   

“I would say definitely team chemistry is a huge factor in what comes out on game day,” Strien said. “It is something that is developed not just when our official season starts or with team bonding activities which are definitely always fun to do, but it also takes place when we meet for the first time on campus when we go through our fall ball practices together with our coaching staff.” 

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips
Brooke Balk (‘19) catches a ball.

Bailey Hocker (‘18) also attributed the team’s success to their chemistry.

“We all want what is best for one another and the team,” Hocker said. “We have been working hard and will continue to do so until the last pitch is played. Together we are able to accomplish our goal, each day brings a new challenge but I feel like we are more than ready to tackles whatever comes our way.”

The team’s next challenge will come when they travel to Florida to compete over spring break. The week is heavily scheduled and the team plays almost a quarter of their season within that time. Usually the Women’s Softball Team  will play ten games with one day off in between them. The team often looks forward to the trip.

“We embrace it,” Hartl said. “We go down, we compete, and we enjoy the sunny weather. We usually have one off-day over spring break. The team usually plays six games, followed by an off-day and another four games. It’s something to look forward to. It’s fun to be outside in the sunshine and the 90-degree weather.”

The busiest part of the season occurs around April when they make the push through the Iowa Conference schedule. During this time, the team plays against familiar schools and enjoys competing against rivals.

“I think we always get excited to play against Coe and Central,” Hartl said. “I always think that anybody can beat anybody within the Iowa conference, but we’ve developed some really fun rivalries with them over the years.”

Their next game will be in Greenville, IL, against Greenville University on March 9.

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