Softball Summer Blog #7: Kaitlyn Richardson

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Hello Gopher fans! I have had a fantastic summer. It has been full of family, fun, and coaching.


I left for Arizona a week after our season was over. When I got home I received many congratulations from family and friends who followed our season closely. It was amazing to see all of the support we received throughout this memorable season.  

I was lucky enough to coach for the team I played for when I was in high school. It was a special team and we had 12 seniors that are going to play at major universities this fall. Six of them are going to Big Ten schools and I even got to coach Danielle Parlich, who will be an incoming freshman this fall for us.

Although we traveled to many different cities, I only ventured to Colorado and California with the team. We did well in both tournaments and placed in the top 25 at nationals. It was interesting learning the game through a coach's standpoint.

Even though I was kept busy between practices and tournaments I was able to spend time with my family and do some traveling of my own! Within two weeks of being home, I took off to San Francisco. It was amazing! We went to a Giants game, Six Flags, Union Square, The Cliff House, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39. Thanks to Tyler Walker, we knew all the good spots to go!

After I got back I really took advantage of being home with my family. One of my favorite memories was when my nephew jumped into the pool for the first time by himself! My family is a riot and anytime we are together it is sure to be fun.

Although I had an absolute blast at home, I was excited to return to campus in early August. As soon as I got back I was able to work out, volunteer, and just enjoy being around my team. There is nothing like getting back into the weight room with everyone. We are excited for the upcoming season and to get to know our new teammates September 2nd is right around the corner and we cannot wait to hit the ground running.

Thank you for reading my blog; I can't wait to see you all this season!

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer
Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth
Softball Summer Blog #3: Madie Eckstrom

Softball Summer Blog #6: Sydney Fabian

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 Summer Blog Photo Gallery

My summer has been one for the books. The excitement of summer began almost immediately after the excitement of season ended. About a week after our super regional appearance I got on a plane and headed to Vietnam.  

I was blessed to work with a program for student-athletes called Coach For College. The purpose of the program is to promote higher education through sport. I taught baseball and English to sixth and seventh graders in rural Vietnam. We taught young people the various skills you can learn from sports, and how they can apply those skills to learning and continuing their education passed middle school and even high school. 

In Vietnam it is not uncommon for kids to stop their education after middle school due to the exams to get into high school and university being too tough to pass. I learned so much through my experience with Coach for College. Being able to travel to the other side of the world is a remarkable and life-changing experience and I encourage everyone, if they have the opportunity, to do it.

After my return from Vietnam, I headed straight to campus so I could reunite with my team and we could start our various summer adventures. I spent a lot of time at my roommate Paige's cabin. There, we enjoyed swimming, water tubing, water sports, and relaxing in the sun. Paige and I agree that her cabin is the greatest place on earth (refer back to Paige's blog). 

Along with the cabin, I have volunteered for the MAC center, gone to numerous Twins games and concerts, and have spent time at my house hanging out with my family. I also have a part time job working at a bakery where I deliver and set up wedding cakes. It's a very fun job and I have yet to drop a cake...knock on wood. 

To end the summer, you can find me at the State Fair working in the Fresh French Fries booth. I have great friends at the booth and it will be a great finish to a great summer! Thanks for taking the time to read about my summer, I hope all of yours are going as well as mine! 

Go Gophers! 

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer
Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth
Softball Summer Blog #3: Madie Eckstrom

Sara's Summer in the Pros:
Entry #1

Sara's Summer in the Pros: Entry #4

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Sara Moulton, a senior on the Minnesota softball team in 2014, left the Gophers as one of the most decorated players in program history after helping lead to the team to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 15 years, as well as its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Upon completion of her collegiate career, the Eagan, Minn. native signed on to play professionally with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. The Bandits selected Moulton with the fifth overall pick in the NPF Collegiate Draft in March. Throughout the summer, Moulton will document her first season in the professional ranks.

 Updated Photo Gallery | Entry #1 | Entry #2 | Entry #3

Bandits at Soldier Field

A lot has happened since my last blog post, so I have decided to recap the last month or so. One month ago from today on July 1, I joined several of my teammates at the center of Soldier Field to watch the USA Soccer game on the big screen surrounded by thousands of diehard soccer fans. Even though I wouldn't consider myself to be a huge soccer fan, everyone becomes a fan during the World Cup. We had a blast watching the game and getting to stand on Soldier Field was an incredible experience.

Next came the Fourth of July! A bunch of my teammates and I went to dinner at Jenna Grim's house. Jenna is from a small town and on the Fourth of July every year, her town puts on a carnival and a fireworks show. After a delicious dinner and some intense games of corn hole, we headed to the carnival. The carnival had a live band and lots of food and rides. We ended up watching the fireworks on a baseball field which just felt fitting for us.

In mid-July we traveled to St. Louis for another "Battle of the Sexes" game. This time we took on the men's Frontier League All Stars. Even though they put their best men on the field, the boys once again came up short and only managed to get one hit against the Bandit pitching staff. The Bandits scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a throwing error at the plate. Victory never tasted so sweet!

After our trip to St. Louis, we traveled back to Chicago and played against the Netherlands' softball team. This was the first time I had ever pitched/played against an international team. The girls on Team Netherlands were talented and a lot of fun to play against. The Bandits ended up taking both games, and overall it was a great experience.

The day after defeating the Netherlands, we headed to Orlando, Fla. to begin a 13-day, 10-game road trip. Florida at this time during the year brought humidity, a lot of rain, and three losses to the USSSA Pride. We even got to make our first TV game appearance on CBS Sports Network. There were some familiar Minnesota teams in the crowd to watch. Even though our games didn't go the way we wanted them to, we still managed to have fun while we were there. The outlet stores, particularly Nike and Lulu Lemon, stole most of my money, but it was worth it!

After spending five sweaty days in Florida, we headed to Pennsylvania to take on the Rebellion in a six-game, six-day match up. Pennsylvania was a lot different than Florida temperature wise, but we seemed to have brought the rain from Florida with us for the first few days we were there. After several games with rain and lightning delays, we somehow managed to get all of our games in! We came out on top and clinched the series with the Rebellion with a record of 4-2.

So what's next you ask? We are heading into the home stretch! August is going to fly by. The first weekend in August we have a home series against the USSSA Pride. We played our first game against the Pride last night and got the W. The first game was important to us because it was Les Turner's ALS Foundation night and we got to wear custom Bandit jerseys, which were auctioned off during the game. 

Also this weekend, Jennie Finch will be coming to a game and throwing out the first pitch. I can't wait to meet her seeing as she has been one of my biggest softball idols since I started playing. After this weekend we only have eight games left before playoffs.

We head back to Pennsylvania next week for a four-game match up with the Rebellion and the following week we take on Akron at home. After that, it's playoff time! We will be traveling to Hoover, Ala. for a week of playoffs and hopefully a championship! After our week in Alabama, I will be heading home! It's crazy how fast the summer has gone but we still have a lot of softball left to play and some unfinished business! Go Bandits! 

Softball Summer Blog #5: Hannah Melick

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Hey Gopher fans! This summer has sure been one for the books for me. After an amazing season, I returned back home to Washington to spend some time with my family. It was nice relaxing, spending quality time with my parents, spending time with my dog, and of course having a home cooked meal every night. It too quickly came to an end because summer classes were starting. 

I couldn't wait to get back to campus to start working out with my teammates and Coach Y again. You just don't get the same satisfaction working out alone at home than you do grinding out a circuit with your teammates--or hitting buckets upon buckets of balls out at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on a gorgeous sunny morning. 

I took three classes this summer, which is a pretty big load for summer term, so I have been very busy with school. I took my second year of American Sign Language--it is by far my favorite class on campus. I also took Abnormal Psychology and Psychology Research Methods, which are always more interesting to me than any math or science classes. Two of my classes have now come to an end so I have more time to do other cool things, rather than stressing about school all the time.

Coach Merchant got called out to do the Chillin 4 Charity challenge and a couple of us girls got asked to be the ones to dump water on her. I will never pass up the opportunity to dump freezing ice water on Coach, especially when it was for such a great cause.  

A lot of us have been volunteering and I got the chance to go to and elementary school to play with kids one day. I think I actually had more fun than the kids did. Anissa Lightner is awesome and always provides volunteering options multiple times a week, so you always have the opportunity to go if you would like. 

Nothing will beat taking the field with my team everyday, but it is nice to be able to have so much time to do other things with them during the summer. For example, a couple of us went out to Erica Meyer's house for the Fourth of July and had a blast. We went tubing, fishing, made burgers, and had a bonfire to watch an awesome firework show at the end of the day. Erica really knows how to whip you off the inner tube. Other things we have done are: rollerbladed around Lake Calhoun, floated down the Apple River, seen Minnehaha Falls, walked to the Stone Arch Bridge, and gone to Twins games. 

This summer has been awesome. Our team is putting in so much work and we are all incredibly excited to start back up in a month when all the newcomers get on campus. It's thrilling to know that everyone is getting better in the offseason so that we pick back up better than where we ended. I know the incoming class is bringing in a lot of good talent, which will only boost us further than where we made it last season.  Can't wait to see you all at our pre-season games in the fall!

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer
Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth
Softball Summer Blog #3: Madie Eckstrom

Softball Summer Blog #4: Paige Palkovich

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Hi Gopher Fans!

After winning the Big Ten Championship, hosting and winning the Minneapolis NCAA Regional, and competing with Oregon in the Eugene Super Regional, my summer season had already kicked off on the right foot. As August is right around the corner, it's safe to say that two thirds of this summer has come and gone faster than I expected, and has been even more fun than I had hoped. 

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed the free time spent with my family and friends, I am still experiencing withdrawals every day from season and the great memories made with my teammates. I cannot wait for all of the out-of-staters to return so we can be one big happy family again!

My summer began with a trip to Michigan to visit my wonderful mother and her side of the family. I went sailing on Lake Michigan with her and some family friends and was very, very appreciative for some much needed mother-daughter bonding time. 

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Once I returned to Minny, I went on a Twins game "binge" and attended four different games over the span of seven days. As many know, Target Field is the second greatest place on the face of the earth (the first will be mentioned later on) and therefore, I was a very happy camper despite witnessing three losses and rejecting my hypothesis that I am, indeed, a good luck charm. Aside from lifting and conditioning and practicing daily, my time on campus is spent working University camps as a Gatorade representative and working softball clinics for my coaches. 

On my days off during the week, I've enjoyed spending time with my friends and teammates, exploring and experiencing all of the wonderful things that Minnesota has to offer. We've gone rollerblading at Lake Calhoun, eaten dinner in Uptown, walked the Stone Arch Bridge, tubed down the Apple River, visited the gorgeous city of Stillwater, and many more exhilarating escapades that I am failing to recall right now. 

I have been lucky enough to spend almost every weekend this summer up at my cabin in Balsam Lake, Wis., which is THE single greatest place on Earth (in mine and Sydney's opinion). My time there is spent doing water sports, tubing, and hanging out with my family on the pontoon. This weekend, instead of my usual cabin routine, I will be visiting my mom again in Michigan and sailing for a couple days with her and my sister. 

For the remainder of the summer, you can find me either at my cabin, at WeFest showing off my beautiful singing voice at the concerts of some of my favorite country artists, or working the Fresh French Fries booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope all of you are enjoying your summer as much as I am! 

GO GOPHERS!!!!!!!!!

Paige Palkovich

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer
Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth
Softball Summer Blog #3: Madie Eckstrom

Sara's Summer in the Pros:
Entry #1

Softball Summer Blog #3: Madie Eckstrom

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Eckstrom and Nora.JPG  Summer Blog Photo Gallery

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying this amazing summer just as much as I am! This summer has been quite a busy one for me. I have been lifting, running, and hitting in order to get ready for my last season as a Gopher. Otherwise, I have been taking a human evolution class and lab and have been working two jobs. 

I feel like Im constantly running around trying to keep busy. I've been hanging out with a lot of my teammates who stayed on campus for the summer and I love being in their company. During the summer months I love to spend my free time being outside at Lake Calhoun or back home in Stillwater.

I'm currently re-reading the Harry Potter series, as I do every summer. The HP series is one of my favorites and I encourage all of my teammates to read the books, though many shake me off. One of my very good friends, Adrianna Nora, who is also is a student-athlete, is someone I also like to spend a lot of my time with. Our seasons are opposite so we do not get to spend much time together in the school year. 

The various jobs I've been a part of consist of being a representative for Gatorade during Minnesota summer camps, working some summer softball clinics, and working with kids in a fun zone during large events such as USA Volleyball and the World Cup Soccer tournament. These experiences have allowed me many new connections and some very fun memories. 

I've enjoyed the summer but I am so excited to get back to softball and get down to business. With the way our last season ended, I'm beyond confident this upcoming season will be just as, if not more successful. With how hard my fellow teammates are working this summer I know know this team will be capable of anything. I am also excited to have some new faces come to Gopher Softball. I'm sure they will add some great talent to this team!

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer
Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth

Sara's Summer in the Pros:
Entry #1

Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth

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Hi Gopher Softball fans! I have had an amazing summer thus far. As a Washington native, it has been nice to see some rain this summer but nothing beats the warm sunshine we have been getting recently. I have had a fairly busy schedule throughout each week for the summer of 2014. You can either find me in the weight room, on the field, in the classroom, or in a small office in Mariucci Arena making some sales for Gopher Sports.

I hope everyone had a fun summer and great Fourth of July weekend--I know I have had an amazing time! I was lucky enough to go out on an incredible yacht on Lake Minnetonka and experience the fun of "Big Island" for the fourth. All I can say is: WOW. The houses on Lake Minnetonka are unbelievable. Thankfully, I was able to experience my great Fourth of July with some of my best friends (and fellow Gopher student-athletes) Kendal Shell, Rachel Banham, and Andre Hollins.

I'm currently taking one class this summer and working a job as a fan relations representative in the sales and services department at the University of Minnesota. Typically, I work Monday through Thursday with hours ranging from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the most part, my job consists of answering phone calls in regards to Gopher Sports, creating up sale opportunities for season ticket holders, and handling all calls with great care and the best customer service that anyone could ever offer. I am VERY thankful that I work in an office with a great manager and supervisor and some hilarious coworkers (let's hope they all read this blog). The class that I am taking is actually called a "Field Experience" where there aren't many face-to-face meetings. This class is required in my major, business and marketing, and my job actually qualifies as my "Field Experience" for this class. By the end of summer I am required to finish and turn in a portfolio of my experiences as a fan relations representative.

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The summer is definitely special this year because a lot of my teammates were able to stay on campus. It's always great to build camaraderie over the "offseason" doing our tough workouts together. With the way Coach Y (our strength & conditioning coach, Sara Wiley) is kicking our butts this summer with her workouts, the future looks bright and buff for this team.

It has also been nice to work with Coach Allister, Coach Merchant, and Coach Ritter for the camps that have taken place on our field throughout the summer. One of my favorite things to do is work these camps for Gopher Softball and Coach Allister; nothing is better than seeing kids get better at softball. Running these camps definitely makes me miss playing and practicing on Jane Sage Cowles with the team.

Speaking of Gopher Softball withdrawals, I was happy to see the Big Ten Network replaying the Big Ten Softball Championship game this past Tuesday night. It's hard to decide what my favorite part of that incredible game was. Obviously the Sammy Macken walk-off was awesome, but I'm going to have to go with the slow-mo of Kaitlyn Richardson sprinting around the bases after her home run.

Other than that, I have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the summer. I will continue to prepare and work hard to ensure a solid senior season. I'm excited for the freshmen to get on campus so we can all get to work together and let them know the high expectations for Gopher softball next season. 

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I will continue to have fun spending time with my amazing teammates. In fact, I'll be heading to the Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere All-Star Game Concert this coming weekend with Sydney Fabian, Hannah Granger, and Erica Meyer. Speaking of Bert, happy 21st birthday to my great teammate! I expect to see you all at Jane Sage Cowles stadium this coming fall!

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer

Sara's Summer in the Pros:
Entry #1

Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer

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So far, my summer has been pleasant. I have kept myself busy but have also factored in time to relax with my friends and family! I have spent most of my time working out for softball, interning in the office of Student-Athlete Development on campus, and coaching my sister's softball team.

On a typical day, I wake up and go lift weights with some of my teammates at Ridder Arena. Our weights coach, Sara Wiley, has set up a lifting program designed to kick our butts and make us stronger before we return to school in the fall! After lifting, we usually head over to our field to hit off tees in the batting cages. 

The next portion of my day is spent at Bierman Field Athletic Building where I am an intern in the office of Student-Athlete Development. As an intern, my main job is planning the 2014 HopeDay Festival. On HopeDay, about 500 of our student-athletes volunteer to put on a carnival for the HopeKids and their families. Here, the kids can play kickball, get their faces painted, go on pony rides and participate in many other fun activities. Each year, about 1,500 members of the HopeKids organization attend the event. HopeKids is an organization that provides fun activities and events free of charge to families who have children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. HopeDay is just one of the many volunteering events our student-athletes attend throughout the year.

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Another part of my job as an intern is volunteering at the various outreach events that we offer. I volunteered at the "M" Club golf outing for former student-athletes. I worked a chipping contest on one of the holes and got to hang out with some softball alums, including Danielle Skrove and Briana Hassett (pictured left). I also got to play in the Playworks Kickball Tournament with other Gopher athletes, including my teammate Hannah Granger (pictured above). Our team ended up winning the whole tournament and former Gopher kicker Chris Hawthorne won the contest for longest kick. Volunteering at these events has been a very rewarding experience.

Finally, in the evenings, I spend my time coaching my sister's softball team. She plays for the 18U Mounds View Mustangs. Throughout the summer, our team will play about 20 league games and compete in four tournaments. In our last tournament, we played two games against my future teammate, Kylie Stober. Watching her pitch made me excited that she is going to become a Gopher. The rest of my time is spent hanging out with my friends and family on the lake and playing fetch with my puppy. As I write, she is begging me to go outside with her, and I can't resist any longer. I am off to play! I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Sara's Summer in the Pros: Entry #3

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Sara Moulton, a senior on the Minnesota softball team in 2014, left the Gophers as one of the most decorated players in program history after helping lead to the team to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 15 years, as well as its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Upon completion of her collegiate career, the Eagan, Minn. native signed on to play professionally with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. The Bandits selected Moulton with the fifth overall pick in the NPF Collegiate Draft in March. Throughout the summer, Moulton will document her first season in the professional ranks.


 Updated Photo Gallery | Entry #1 | Entry #2

Tatum, Booker, Varsho, Moulton, Taylor.jpg The past few weeks in Bandit nation have been super busy! Last week, we traveled by bus to Pennsylvania and took on the PA Rebellion in a two-game match up. We ended up splitting with the Rebellion. It was a fun trip and I got to play against some familiar Big Ten faces! Andie Varsho from Purdue and Tatum and Taylor Edwards from Nebraska are members of the Rebellion. I look forward to matching up against them and getting to spend more time with them later this summer.

We had a few days off when we returned from Pennsylvania, so a few of the girls and I decided to take a road trip to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals take on the Phillies at Busch Stadium. Estela Pinon's boyfriend, Ken Giles, is a rookie pitcher on the Phillies and hooked us up with great seats! We also got a chance to go down onto the field after the game and take some pictures (see the updated gallery). 

Earlier this week we hosted two days of Bandit clinics. It was fun to have a chance to instruct and give back to the game that has done so much for us. The young girls were determined and worked hard! On Monday after the clinic, we played our second Battle of The Sexes game against The Windy City Thunderbolts baseball team. The Thunderbolts came out fired up, but ended up falling to us 8-0 and only managed to produce one hit on offense. The Bandit pitching staff dominated the boys once again!

This past Wednesday we flew to Round Rock, Texas to compete in a four game series against the USSSA Pride. We played all of our games at the Dell Diamond baseball stadium, which is home to the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team. It was a beautiful stadium and the weather in Texas did not disappoint! We ended up splitting the series 2-2 with the Pride.

It's crazy that my summer with the Bandits is already almost halfway over! I am having the time of my life meeting new people and getting to experience new things every day.

My roommate, former Big Ten/Northwestern foe Emily Allard, and I are getting along great! We have learned the past month that we have more in common than just a four year B1G rivalry. She's also learned that living with me comes with cold temperatures, as many of my Gopher teammates learned while rooming with me on the road.

Looking ahead, we have two months of jam-packed softball coming up! The next two weekends, we host the Akron Racers and the Rebellion! I look forward to playing in front of our home crowd and I am expecting to see some familiar Minnesota faces in Chicago down the road! 

Sara's Summer in the Pros: Entry #2

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Sara Moulton, a senior on the Minnesota softball team in 2014, left the Gophers as one of the most decorated players in program history after helping lead to the team to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 15 years, as well as its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Upon completion of her collegiate career, the Eagan, Minn. native signed on to play professionally with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. The Bandits selected Moulton with the fifth overall pick in the NPF Collegiate Draft in March. Throughout the summer, Moulton will document her first season in the professional ranks.

 Updated Photo Gallery | Entry #1

Moulton, Klucas, KochWeek 2 in Bandit Nation was a busy one! On Tuesday (June 3), we headed out to Normal, Ill. and played an exhibition game against the Normal Corn Belters professional baseball team. Sports Science videos proved to be correct as the guys struggled to put the bat on the ball from 43 feet away. I will give it to them though, they took some hacks and had fun with it. The Corn Belters brought in a men's Professional Fast Pitch pitcher to throw to us. He threw consistently 71-74 mph, which was the hardest pitching I have seen so far. He managed to hold us off the bases the first time through the order, but after making some adjustments, our bats got hot and we put up seven runs and defeated the boys, 7-0.

On Thursday night, some of my teammates and I headed to the Cubs game. It was my first visit to Wrigley Field. We sat out in the bleacher seats in the outfield that overlooked the whole field. What a fun experience! Fun fact: Wrigley Field is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! We had a blast at the game and the Cubs came out with a W!

Friday night, we took the field for our first home series against the Akron Racers. I was excited to get another start because there were some familiar faces in the crowd! Gopher Softball alumnae Kelsey Klucas, Alissa Koch, Heidi Carls, and Whitney Erikson made the trip to watch some Bandit Softball. We got the win Friday night against Akron, but came up short in Saturday's game. During the day on Saturday, Kelsey, Alissa, Alissa's boyfriend Ian, and I, explored the Rosemont area I have been staying at and found a mini golf course. After 18 holes of mini golf in the grueling sun, Alissa was crowned the champion of the game. Kelsey, Ian, and I enjoyed our defeat with some slushies from 7-Eleven. 

To wrap up the busy week, we head back to Akron, Ohio on Sunday to gear up for our final two games of the series on Monday and Tuesday night. We will return back to Rosemont following Tuesday night's game and get back to practice Thursday and Friday before taking on the USSSA Pride on our home field Saturday and Sunday. I can't wait for another week of Bandit Softball and to bring home more wins!