The 2015 Minnesota Softball season is approaching. The Gophers are coming off their best season in program history, a season that included the school's first Big Ten Tournament title since 1999 and its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. This year's team will look to build on last year's success. The 42nd Gopher softball team will feature 22 student-athletes and each one has her own story. As the team's Feb. 6 opener against Washington gets closer, each player will look back on her journey to wearing the Maroon and Gold.

Coach Allister on No. 28, Danielle Parlich: "Danielle Parlich is another versatile infielder who saw a lot of time at second base this fall. Nel possesses a steady glove and a consistent left handed bat. Nel comes to Minnesota from Arizona following in the footsteps of Gopher greats, Malisa Barnes and Kaitlyn Richardson."
Sports have always been a big part on my life. Both of my parents played multiple sports growing up and they encouraged the same from my sister and I. The two sports my sister and I fell in love with were basketball and softball. My sister, who is five years older than me, was approaching high school and my dad knew that it was time for her to pick a sport that she wanted to pursue a college career in. At this time we were still living in Illinois, where basketball was a very popular sport to play. However, she enjoyed playing softball over any other sport she tried and chose that path just like I would later on.

When I was in fourth grade, my parents decided they wanted to move out to Arizona for multiple reasons; one being softball. Softball on the West Coast is highly competitive and challenging, so my parents knew that it would be best for us if we wanted to pursue a college career. It was hard to move and leave all my friends and family behind and it was hard to start at a new school where I would know absolutely no one. However, no matter where I was, I would always have softball, which would never change.

For the next four years I played in Arizona and even played on a team my dad coached for two years. After playing for a few years in Arizona, I joined a California travel ball team for the next three years. Playing in California from eighth grade until 10th grade was a little bit of a struggle for me and really made me think about if I wanted to continue to play softball. Three out of four weekends of every month, I would be traveling to California instead of staying home or hanging out with my friends once my games were done.

It was during my sophomore year that I started to think about recruiting. Seeing how much fun my teammates were having going through that process once again got me excited about playing.

I realized that I did not just spend the last 10 years of my life playing softball, which I loved, only to give up now when I was so close. I then started not to care about how much I was traveling, but instead could not wait for the weekend so I could play. For my final two years of travel ball, I played for the Arizona Hotshots, the team that helped get me recruited to the University of Minnesota.

During my junior year, I started to seriously look around for a school I wanted to go to. I wanted to go to a school in the Midwest that had an excelling softball program. I also wanted to go to a school where the academics were great and where there was a lot of opportunity for my future.

With all of that in my mind I started to look around and went on some visits, but nothing felt right. I first found out about Minnesota from my sister, Sam, who played against them twice during her college career. From there I did some research and knew I wanted to take a visit to the campus.

After my unofficial visit I knew immediately that this was the school I wanted to go to. The campus was gorgeous, the academics were spectacular, there was a great volunteer program, and of course the coaches were amazing! At the end of my visit, I verbally committed and could not wait to be a Golden Gopher!

When I finally got to campus, I could not wait to start playing. During the 20 hours we were allowed to practice, we put in a lot of work and time together. With all that hard work, we won all of our fall games and I can only imagine how we can do in the spring.

With the spring coming up very shortly, my anticipation is growing! I cannot wait to travel with everyone (especially here to Arizona) for all the tournaments at the beginning and then to finally start Big Ten play. With the team winning the Big Ten tournament last year and seeing them receive their rings this fall, I really hope I too get this great opportunity to win one with these great girls.

With softball being one aspect of college life, school and living in the dorm are also apart of it. School for me went great this fall and it was relatively easy to adjust to balancing school and softball. However, being so far away from home, and being a freshman on top of that, it was hard to adjust to being away for such a long period of time. It was weird not to see my family every day, to not get a home cooked meal, and to even do my own laundry! However, my teammates made the process a lot easier. We would go out to eat, hang out on the weekends, and even went paintballing for someone's birthday!

This fall, I had a ton of fun getting to know everyone both on and off the field and cannot wait to see what this season has in store for us!

The 2015 Minnesota Softball season is approaching. The Gophers are coming off their best season in program history, a season that included the school's first Big Ten Tournament title since 1999 and its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. This year's team will look to build on last year's success. The 42nd Gopher softball team will feature 22 student-athletes and each one has her own story. As the team's Feb. 6 opener against Washington gets closer, each player will look back on her journey to wearing the Maroon and Gold.

Coach Allister on No. 32, Sydney Dwyer: "Sydney Dwyer is a versatile infielder who could see time at both middle infield positions as well as third base this spring. Syd is also a powerful offensive threat who will fight for time in the middle of our lineup."
Unlike many other collegiate softball players, I never experienced travel softball. In Iowa, high school softball is played in the summer instead of the spring, eliminating the possibility of playing on a travel team. Consequently, I could not experience the same recruitment opportunities as players who participated in travel ball. High school softball was my only chance for college coach exposure and it is very rare to get recruited through a high school team. Luckily, Lori Duncan, a former assistant coach at LSU, was my high school coach. I knew that she would put me in a position to reach my goal of playing collegiate softball.

After a successful eighth grade season playing for Coach Duncan, I had high hopes for my freshman season. All of these hopes were diminished when I tore my ACL during a basketball open gym only one week before my freshman softball season started. Initially, I was unaware of the physical and mental struggles I would face in order to fully recover.

Having to sit in the dugout all summer and watch each game and practice made me reevaluate myself as an athlete. Knowing that a successful freshman year would have helped me in the recruiting process, I did not know what my future looked like. I committed myself to rehabilitation for the next nine months, returning to athletics halfway through basketball season. I knew that if I could return to the sport in which I originally hurt my knee, then I could overcome the fear of doing it again. I would also be prepared for my sophomore softball season.

Through rehabilitation, I learned to be grateful for my physical capabilities. At first, I began to appreciate the ability to walk without crutches, then drive, and eventually, the ability to run. I made small improvements every day and every day my future looked brighter and brighter. Retraining my knee to do all the movements that once came naturally was the biggest mental battle that I had to overcome. Thankfully, with a great physical therapist and supportive coaches, my knee injury was only a slight bump in the road to reaching my goals.

During my sophomore year, my softball team had a very successful season and earned a third place finish at the state tournament. After a great season and state tournament performance, I started to gain the interest of college coaches. I even visited a few colleges before junior year started, but none that I was ready to call my home after high school. A few months later, however, I visited the University of Minnesota and called Coach Allister two days later to commit.

UMN's coaching staff had a future vision for the softball program that I knew I wanted to be a part of. The University of Minnesota's beautiful campus and facilities also immediately sold me. As soon as I left campus after my unofficial visit, I knew that the University of Minnesota had everything I was looking for in a college. Growing up in Iowa, I was always surrounded by Big Ten athletics. It was important to me that my parents could come to my games. Fortunately, over half of the Big Ten universities are close to home, giving my family ample opportunity to continue to support me.

During my senior year of high school, I went on an official visit to the U and met all of my future teammates for the first time. While I was nervous to meet everyone, I was at ease once I realized how welcoming they were throughout the weekend. Even after a few days, I noticed the close relationships these girls had with one another off the field. It was comforting to know that these girls would be my family in one short year.

Completing the workouts with the team my first week on campus was a great feeling. All the years of hard work to get here had finally felt like they had paid off. The seniors did an outstanding job of preparing all of us freshman for practices, lifts, and team expectations. The upperclassmen demonstrated the necessity of a great work ethic. While making team expectations clear, they were also very approachable and I knew that I had 16 friends I could count on for anything.

During my first few weeks on campus, I was extremely thankful for Erika Smyth and her roommates. A couple nights each week, I went to their apartment for a home cooked dinner and a place to do homework. It was nice to have a homey place and their great company. On the field this fall, I was thankful for Sam Macken. She was my partner for everything on the field and she took me under her wing and made sure that I knew what to do during each drill. Great teammates on and off the field made my transition to college life an easy one.

The team's success last year made me proud to be committed to the University of Minnesota. While watching them playing online, on TV, or in person, I walked away from every game excited to one day be a part of the team. As a spectator, I noticed how passionate they were about the game by how intensely they played it. The dugout beamed of unselfishness and I could not wait to be teammates with people who cared about one another's success more than their own.

Experiencing my first fall as a Gopher was exhausting, exhilarating, and exciting. During eight-hour weeks, I learned to cherish free time. During 20-hour weeks, I learned to cherish sleep. This fall was a lot of learning and hard work, but after seeing the team receive their Big Ten Championship rings, my determination to receive one of my own is higher than ever.

I cannot wait to see what the 2015 season has in store for Gopher Softball!

The 2015 Minnesota Softball season is approaching. The Gophers are coming off their best season in program history, a season that included the school's first Big Ten Tournament title since 1999 and its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. This year's team will look to build on last year's success. The 42nd Gopher softball team will feature 22 student-athletes and each one has her own story. As the team's Feb. 6 opener against Washington gets closer, each player will look back on her journey to wearing the Maroon and Gold.

Coach Allister on No. 33, Ellie Cowger: "Ellie Cowger has been a great addition to our team this fall. Even though she comes from Michigan, she comes from a long line of Gophers! Ellie reminds me of former Gopher Dannie Skrove and fans will enjoy the grit and competitiveness they will see from Ellie this season."
My Gopher Softball journey has been short in comparison to those who have come before me. However, that fact has not hindered my ability to reflect on the four months I have been a member of the Gopher Softball family.

I can start out by saying this: I am blessed. I am lucky to be a part of the University of Minnesota's athletic department and an ambassador of the maroon and gold. I am lucky to put on a Gopher Softball jersey every game day. I am lucky to run shuttles in the indoor football facility every Wednesday morning (if you tell yourself you enjoy them, they're not half bad). I am lucky that practice is the best part of my day and I get to do what feels like an infinite number of push-offs in the outfield grass of Jane Sage Cowles Stadium (and yes...I know there will be many more to come). And finally, I am lucky to be a part of a team of coaches and players who have a contagious desire for excellence and who would do anything in their power to see their players and teammates succeed.

During the last few weeks of the semester when our practice schedule switched from 20 hours a week to eight, I had the opportunity to reflect on how I got to the U. I came to realize many things over that course of time. Most importantly, I was able to pinpoint where my journey began and where it has taken me. So here is my story...

I was born a Golden Gopher. Having both my parents graduate from the school and seeing two out of the three of my older sisters walk on to the Gopher Softball team in 2006 and 2008, the University of Minnesota was the only place my heart could ever be. I didn't quite convince myself of that until I came to campus on a recruiting visit.

When I began the recruiting process my freshman year, I felt like I was in sorry shape. I was in the midst of switching over to left-handed hitting and I had yet to find my place in the field. I pitched in high school, but my heart wasn't really in it. I played infield for my travel team, but that didn't quite feel right either. As a result, I was a softball player who couldn't really swing right handed or left handed and had no idea of my potential in the field. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to play college softball and somehow I had to find a way to get there.

Looking back on it now, I can attribute my turning point to three things. I had my parents who encouraged me to never give up on what I wanted most. I had a travel coach who told me my best shot to play Division I, Big Ten softball would be to get my cleats into the outfield. And lastly, I was introduced to a hitting coach who didn't give up on me even when my swing was in shambles.

Over the course of my freshman and sophomore years, my game started to come together. My swing began to not be such a train wreck, I got faster and I was becoming more comfortable in both the infield and the outfield. I drew the attention of a few DII schools and smaller DI schools, but deep down, I knew I wanted to play for Minnesota.

I went to summer softball camp at the U the summer before my junior year and that is where I really got to know the coaches and the culture of the Gopher Softball program. My experience over those three days was something that I knew I wouldn't get anywhere else. Following the camp, Coach Merchant saw me play at Nationals (I'm not sure if she remembers, but the first game she came to, I struck out three times and made an error that let in the winning run for the other team). Coach Merchant, if you are reading this, thank you for giving me a second chance and coming to another game. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

Despite my not-so-stellar performance, the coaches eventually invited me to come on an unofficial visit in September. I was set on coming here before I even knew I would be offered a spot on the team. I could tell by watching only 15 minutes of Gopher Softball practice that they all loved where they were at and that their passion for the sport was through the roof. The girls were very friendly and took the time to make sure I felt welcome. At a meeting with the coaches that evening, they offered me a spot in their program and I couldn't say anything but yes.

And here we are, two years later and not a day goes by that I don't take a step back and thank God for where He has brought me. I feel like I am living a dream and I don't think that feeling will go away for the next three and a half years.

But now that I have finished my first semester and we are only 33 days away from the season, I will take the opportunity to look back on those first four months.

I wouldn't call my start a rocky one, but I definitely made a few freshman mistakes. Forgetting my cleats in the locker room on the first day of practice or taking the entire hitting practice to complete a bunting drill that usually only takes two minutes are only two of the more memorable ones.

But if it weren't for those moments, I may not have realized the support system I have behind me. As the only freshman in the outfield this year, I was constantly encouraged and motivated by all of the upperclassman outfielders. While all of the outfielders were instrumental in my transition to college softball, Erica Meyer and Paige Palkovich helped me immensely in center field. I now take the right first step about half the time instead of never and get pelted by a fewer number of sun balls. But on a real note, thank you to both of you for making my first fall a good one.

All of my teammates are more encouraging and hard-working than I ever imagined. There is a reason why they won the Big Ten championship last year. They have the relentless desire for success and the willingness to put in the work it takes to be one of the top teams in the country. It's inspiring and I really should thank them every day for making me want to be not only a better softball player but an all-around better person.

If seeing the 2014 team win the Big Ten Championship in May against a team from my home state wasn't motivating enough, watching the girls receive their Big Ten Championship rings was just one more things that made me want to be a part of something so great. Once again, I am lucky to call each and every one of those girls my teammates and I cannot wait for us to accomplish something just as amazing as they did last season.

I was sitting at breakfast with Erica Meyer and Erika Rozell, the day before I went home for Christmas break. I could honestly tell them that the U was where I was supposed to be and that I wouldn't change anything for the world.

So in conclusion, thank you for reading and may our 2015 be filled with many wins, lots of fun, another Big Ten Championship. I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and I look forward to hopefully seeing a lot of you out at our games this spring!

The 2015 Minnesota Softball season is approaching. The Gophers are coming off their best season in program history, a season that included the school's first Big Ten Tournament title since 1999 and its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. This year's team will look to build on last year's success. The 42nd Gopher softball team will feature 22 student-athletes and each one has her own story. As the team's Feb. 6 opener against Washington gets closer, each player will look back on her journey to wearing the Maroon and Gold.

Coach Allister on No. 42, Tyler Walker: "Tyler Walker is a dynamic softball player on both sides of the ball. She's been a mainstay in our lineup the past three years at the top of the order and at short stop. Her speed and power set the tone for our lineup offensively and she has a steady presence on defense."

At the start of my junior year of high school is when I first came into contact with the University of Minnesota. I received a letter in the mail describing the university and its many opportunities as well as details about the softball program. Initially, I was skeptical about the state of Minnesota, but I was repeatedly encouraged by my dad to go on a visit and at least check out the campus and meet the coaches. At this time, I was being recruited by the old coaching staff. I decided to give it a chance!

I went on an unofficial visit to the school and completely fell in love with the campus and was so ready to become a Gopher.

A few months later, I received a heartbreaking call from the Minnesota head coaches at the time, letting me know that it would be their last season coaching the Gophers. After I hung up the phone, I remember being in shock and very nervous on what the future was going to hold for me. So, I went back into the whole recruiting process again.

I visited other schools and found that I kept comparing them to the University of Minnesota. I received a phone call that the new coaching staff at Minnesota wanted me to go on an official visit and I was so beyond excited I can't even put it into words. I arrived on campus during my senior year of high school and once I heard Coach Allister's goals for the program I was completely on board. I wanted to be a part of changing the program around that is why Minnesota so appealing to me as a player. I wanted to be a part of something great.

When I arrived on campus my freshman year, I knew I was in the right place. As soon as I met the other freshmen, we instantly became close and I knew they would become my family. The biggest adjustment I had to make in college was cooking for myself. I am now in my senior year and still haven't really made that adjustment. But, I am a pro at calling in take-out orders and I know every menu in Dinkytown way too well (try the BLT at Loring Pasta Bar if you're ever hungry).

During my freshman year, it felt like I played more softball in one semester then I did my whole life! But honestly freshman year was so awesome. Looking back at it, it was so great because my teammates were (and still are) just genuinely awesome people. Like I said before, we all got along so great and it made living far from home so much easier.

The culture of the program was based on the concept of hard work. Whether in the classroom or on the field, we work hard. The hard work we put in my freshman year on the field and in the classroom helped me understand what it truly meant to be a Minnesota Gopher.

It has been an honor to be a part of this program. I think it is an absolute privilege to be able to wake up every morning and work towards getting better with my team, my family, my sisters. Winning the Big Ten Championship was huge for our program, but what was most amazing to me is that we were two games away from competing in the Women's College World Series - two games. That has been my driving motivation so far this year and wanting to get better every day. We got so close last year but I have full faith that this team is going to get there again and this time we're going to have a different outcome, I 100% believe that.

Until that time comes, we continue to put in hard work in the weight room and on the field. Come February, we'll be ready to go to war.

Softball Summer Blog #8: Hannah Granger

| No TrackBacks

Granger.jpg Summer Blog Photo Gallery

Hello folks! This summer has been quite a whirlwind of hard work and good times. I started out the summer at home in Wheaton, Ill. for a couple of weeks where I got to spend some nice quality time with my family, friends, and my dog, Sugar.

It was nice to be home and relax for a bit before I returned back to campus to start my summer classes. I took a Spanish course to fulfill a minor requirement and a course about technology in the elementary classroom for my major, Elementary Education. When I wasn't in class, I was putting in work in the weight room with our strength coach, Sara Wiley, to get ready for the season.

I also spent some time hitting with Erica Meyer in the mornings and volunteering when I could. The rest of my days were filled with some fun projects including: creating fun, new wall art for my room, organizing my ever-growing closet, and catching up on television shows I was too busy to watch during the school year. On nice days, I am fortunate enough to go to the Meyer's house and spend some time on the lake with Erica and some other teammates.

Other than the normal schedule, I had three really special days this summer. The first was tubing down the Apple River with some of my teammates. It was a beautiful day and we just got to lay in some inner tubes and float along the Apple River for three hours just relaxing and talking. When we were done, we headed into Stillwater for a nice dinner and some more fun.

The second was my trip home in the beginning of August for Lollapalooza, a music festival in Chicago. Everyone on the team knows that I am a HUGE music fan, and going to concerts is what makes me happiest. So, going to Lollapalooza is a real treat. This year, my whole family went and it was really special to get to share our love of music and concerts with each other for three days in Chicago.

My third favorite day of summer would have to be actually a couple of days this past week. The seniors on campus got to help the freshmen move into their dorms and get settled. It is really great to see them excited to get started and be a part of the Gopher Softball program. We are really fortunate to be adding six more girls and their families to the Gopher Softball family. These freshmen are extremely talented and great to be around. It is going to be really fun to see their impact this year and in the years to come after my senior class leaves the program.

I am looking forward to starting this fall season; hope to see you all at some games!

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

Softball Summer Blog #7: Kaitlyn Richardson

| No TrackBacks

Richardson.JPG Summer Blog Photo Gallery

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

| No TrackBacks

 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

| No TrackBacks
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

| No TrackBacks

melick2.png Summer Blog Photo Gallery

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

| No TrackBacks

IMG_8310.JPG Summer Blog Photo Gallery

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. 


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