The Truman State University softball season kicks off this Friday as the team faces off against the University of Minnesota-Crookston in the Kelly Laas Memorial Invite at St. Cloud State University.
It has been 339 days since the Bulldogs last took the field after the cancellation of the 2020 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are eager to step back onto the field.
“We are all super excited,” Kayla Quanstrum, former team captain and infielder, said. “It feels like we haven’t been on the field for so long.”
Quanstrum said this season will require a lot of adaptation as players go in and out of quarantine. Quanstrum also mentioned that a couple players are out for the start of the season with COVID-19, so some players will be required to play different positions, and the team needs to be prepared for every circumstance.
This is a young team with the most experienced players on the team being juniors Quanstrum and catcher MacKayla Gordon.
The rest of the team has not been able to see much collegiate action with the 2020 campaign being cut short.
“Without getting to play last season, a lot of the sophomores this season are feeling like they’re freshmen because they really didn’t get to experience traveling,” Quanstrum said. “So it’s been new, going through and re-explaining what everything is going to be like.”
This will also be the first full season for Head Coach Amanda Bradberry who was hired during May 2019 but didn’t have a chance to play out the full first season that started 5-7.
Players expressed a lot of confidence in the abilities of coach Bradberry. Both Quanstrum and Gordon praised her for her focus on the mechanics of the game.
Quanstrum said she expects a drastic improvement in her abilities at the plate thanks to the help she received from Bradberry regarding swing fundamentals.
“Coach Bradberry has been working extremely hard with the adversity that has been thrown at her since arriving at Truman,” Gordon said. “She is very knowledgeable about the game, and she cares about the success of this program, wanting the best for her players.”
Gordon also mentioned how the relationships in the pitching and catching staff have grown. During the canceled 2020 season, there was a lot of focus on the mental game and bettering relationships with one another.
“The pitching and catching staff works extremely hard every day,” said Gordon.
Gordon was quick to praise the entire pitching staff, especially pitcher Annabel Zimmer, who has recovered from her shoulder injury and has looked impressive in practices so far. Gordon said she believes this season will be a strong pitching rotation for the Bulldogs.
Ellie Weltha — catcher, infielder and also a player on the women’s basketball team — said she has high expectations for the team this season.
“We have a great team, very athletic, so we expect to have a great season,” Weltha said.
The Bulldogs will show the work they put in during practice at the game this Friday at 3 p.m. against the University of Minnesota-Crookston in St. Cloud, Minnesota.