Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Changes seen after Gophers softball’s first tournament

The Gophers traveled to San Diego to kick off their 50th season with five games, including playing against three ranked opponents.
Image by Gopher Athletics (courtesy)
Gophers softball is 3-2 after facing several ranked opponents in the opening week of the 2024 season.

Gophers softball kicked off their 50th season playing some of the best teams in the country at the San Diego State Season Kickoff a week ago.

The Gophers finished the weekend 3-2 with a ranked win against No. 24 San Diego State and a shutout loss versus No. 3 Stanford.

Kayla Chavez and Jess Oakland headlined the offense for Minnesota. Oakland went 6/17 (.353) at the plate, including a two-home run game against UC Santa Barbara in the season opener. Chavez led the Gophers with seven hits and a .389 batting average.

Sydney Schwartz said Oakland and Chavez make up “the best left side in the country.”

Taylor Krapf started at first base for two out of the first five games, a new development this season after playing catcher all 57 games last year.

Gophers head coach Piper Ritter said catching a lot of games impacted how Krapf played toward the end of the season.

“She caught all of our games last year and it takes a toll and you could see it a little bit when she was just a little slower,” Ritter said. “Her bat wasn’t as good at the end of the season and we want to keep everyone fresh, so it’s nice to have depth with Cassie [Lindmark].”

Lindmark transferred from Penn State as a graduate student with one year of eligibility left. Minnesota’s depth allows Krapf not to catch every game but to keep her bat in the lineup, whether it is at first or as the designated player.

Schwartz pitched in four of the five games in San Diego, including a start against Stanford, where she went 5.2 innings, striking out six and only allowing three runs. 

Schwartz said she’s improved in two different aspects from her first year at Minnesota.

“I would say the biggest thing is my velo[city] is up from my freshman year,” Schwartz said. “I’d say my drop has better movement and location.”

Schwartz showed off her versatility by starting the game against Stanford, but also coming in for the save against San Diego State. In her 13.1 innings, Schwartz allowed three earned runs on seven hits, posting a 1.58 ERA on the weekend.

Pitcher Bri Enter started three games in San Diego, which totaled 18 innings and included a complete game versus UC Santa Barbara, with five strikeouts and three runs allowed. Enter, stepping into a more prominent role in her second season at Minnesota, pitched more than the rest of the staff combined.

After losing Natalie DenHartog and Amani Bradley from last year’s outfield, the Gophers added transfer Morgan DeBord to bolster the outfield.

Addison Leschber played in the outfield four out of the five games in San Diego, a different role from a season ago as a starting designated hitter for 22 games.

“I feel like we had a deep lineup last year, and we were able to keep most of that depth,” Leschber said. “I think we were just able to build more, and I feel like [last] weekend we were able to just pass the bat.”

Along with the roster depth, Minnesota added a mix of new jerseys in the offseason. Ritter said the black uniform worn during their game against Kentucky is one of a few new uniforms the Gophers added.

Schwartz and Leschber both said they love the new black uniforms, and it adds an element of swag, according to Leschber.

“I just wanted to switch it up, and we do have another one coming in, but unfortunately, they don’t all get here on time,” Ritter said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *