Softball team works to place in top three place finish

After finishing fourth in the CCIW conference last year, Augustana’s softball team has started their year with the expectation of finishing at least third in the conference.
So far the season has been a good challenge for the athletes according to softball head coach Kristina Kistler.
“We had a wide range of competition to start the season, which has helped us play a lot of our players to see where we are at,” Kristler said. “Our schedule gets extremely tough from here, but we were able to get a lot of young players on the field early in the season, so we should be ready.”
Kristler remarked on how she has seen some of the softball athletes performing well.
“Ashley Anderson, Shelby Grandt, and Kendra Rakers will pitch most of our innings,” Kistler said. “Brittany Kellett has hit well and will handle the pitchers. Carly Wilson has lead us in hitting and playing a very good short stop. Laurent Severson is playing a great third base.”
There have been significant changes to the team with new athletes and a new coach.
“We have a new pitching coach, Jaime Rehmert,” Kistler said. “Jaime had big shoes to fill and has done a great job. It helps that she is an alumni of our program.”
Kistler is confident the freshman will use their talent to step up and fill varsity postilions. .
“We have played a lot of freshmen early,” Kristler said. “They are a very talented group. That makes it exciting to think about the future as well. Carly Wilson, Izzy Anderson, Taylor Belo, Rachel Anderson, and Haley Ruch have all started in at least one game so far. But, we have a few more that we think will come along soon.”
Senior pitcher Ashley Anderson noted that the strengths the team has is their trust in their captains to lead them to at least a third place finish.
“Strengths in the team right now are definitely the leadership. They (the captains) kind of come through coach K and trickle down. In the past, it hasn’t necessarily been the case,” Anderson said. “We’ve formed a really good bond on our communication and our ability to interact with each other, we get along a lot better than we’ve had in the past.”
While the team have strong bonds with their captains, the team has struggled individually trying to synchronize and put together their offense and defense.
“Our hitting got off to a slow start,” Kistler said. “We are still working players into the line-up to find our best offense. We also need to play better defense. We have a young team and it will come. Our pitchers got off to a great start; we just need to keep them healthy and confident.”
Anderson’s primary concern for the team is the lack of experience of collegiate level play..
I think our biggest weakness right now is probably the youth of our team,” Anderson said. “Compared to a lot of other schools in our conference we’re a very young team. Our pitcher and our catcher, me and my counterpart Brittany Kellett, are really the only returning starters that are consistent. We’ve got a junior and a senior on the field and then a bunch of freshmen and sophomores.”
Kistler is confident that the team will move forward despite the challenges they face ahead of them.
“We may make a few mistakes that a veteran team might not make,” Kistler said, “But this group learns quickly and communicates well, so I believe we can overcome those mistakes later in the season.”
The softball team’s will travel this weekend to the Washington-St. Louis tournament in St. Louis, MO to continue improving their team.