St Cloud Tourny Preview

By Leo Lemos

February 21, 2014

The Western Softball team prepares for travel to St. Cloud, Minnesota to participate in the St Cloud State Dome Tournament.

Four colleges are going to converge on one field to face Western and see who comes out on top. Westerns opponents are the Concordia Golden Cubs, Wayne State Wildcats, Augustana Vikings and the St. Cloud Huskies.

The tournament is a crossover of the MIAA and the NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).

Western has been practicing hard and head coach Jen Bagley is confident the teams abilities out on the field. “It is in our culture of the sport to prepare for multiple games, multiple days in a row.” Bagley said, “We are very excited to see some of the top level teams in the NSIC conference.  That weekend will be a great test for our ability to compete against some perennial top teams in that league.”

On Feb. 21, the Griffons will face the Golden Cubs. This will be the opposition’s first game of the season and as expected, both teams are going in to this game for the win. In the 2013 season, Concordia finished out the season with a record of 29-16 overall. In the NSIC the ended with a positive record of 15-9.

The day following the Concordia game, Western will step on to the field with the Wildcats. Last season the Wildcats played relatively well and topped of their season with a 28-16 over all record and claimed 17-9 in NSIC.

“Concordia is a very quality program with solid pitching, outstanding defense, and consistent hitting.  Mankato proves to be the toughest team to face as they return much of their hitting line-up from last year’s NCAA regional team.” Bagley said.

On Feb. 23, The Griffons are to play a double header against the Vikings and the Huskies.

The Vikings have already began their season and are on a current upslope, having a 4-1 record. Last season they pulled off an impressive 32-17 overall record and tied up with Concordia in NSIC with 17-9.

The St. Cloud Huskies finished with at 24-28 record over all in their 2012 season and 10-16 in the NSIC.

Western is at a 7-3 record and hope to maintain their positive stats during the tournament and although they will be playing four heavy games in just one setting sophomore pitcher Janie Smith is very optimistic about the outcome of the games.

I think the tournament should be fun. It will be different playing in a dome and on turf but luckily we have some experience on it thanks to the GISC. We’ll be playing some good teams but I think we’ll be ready for them.” Smith said.

Western is at a win streak of 2 with their victories over Minnesota State and the University of Illinois in the UAM 8-State Classic and hope to keep their heads above water as they continue throughout the season.

Support the Griffons as they play against Concordia University on Feb. 21, the game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.