Baseball and Softball Continue Success
Hayden Audette, staff writer
The impressive turnarounds of Augsburg’s baseball and softball teams have continued into the month of April, as both teams have finished their non-conference slates with much better records than in 2021. Going into the start of MIAC play, Auggie baseball has a record of 8-9, and they recorded eight wins in total throughout the entire 2021 season. With an 8-11 record, the Auggie softball team has already surpassed their win total from 2021, a season where they won only five games.
There are plenty of factors that have gone into these turnarounds but one of the most significant factors is that both teams have gotten strong contributions from individual players. Auggie baseball has at least one player in the top five of three separate offensive stat categories. Connor Stoik is currently fourth in the conference in batting average, Jack Baumgart is fourth in runs batted in, and the Auggies currently have players in first and second in the stolen base category as well, with Michael Weiss and Stoik combining for 26 steals all by themselves. The baseball team’s pitching has improved as well, with Auggie pitchers in the top 10 in earned run average, wins, and saves.
For Auggie softball, there are also a few standout players leading the way. Meredith Taylor is currently tied for second in the conference in home runs and is in seventh place in runs batted in. Katie Manecke is also on the offensive leaderboard, as she is tied for 11th place in stolen bases with seven. On the pitching side, Olivia O’Connor has stood out for the Auggies, O’Connor is currently in 12th place in the MIAC in earned run average, 11th place in wins and sixth place in strikeouts. The strong performances from several players on both teams are certainly one of the biggest reasons for the significant improvements for Auggie baseball and softball so far in 2022.
Another big reason is the overall team chemistry this year. “This team was closer than any team I had been on previously, we all genuinely enjoyed being around each other and I think that translated to the field,” said Auggie baseball player Burke Nesbit of the team’s camaraderie. “With the new additions this year, we have a more well-rounded team than we did last year which makes us dynamic.”
Both teams may also get a boost from finally being able to play outdoors starting this month. The baseball team will move outside to Parade Stadium after having played at US Bank Stadium in March, and the softball team will be able to play outside as well with the dome coming down at Edor Nelson Field. “Playing at US Bank Stadium was a blast,” said Nesbit. “It’s a super cool environment and definitely something I’ll remember after my time here. The team is looking forward to getting back outside again soon although the weather hasn’t been playing in our favor.” Here’s hoping the weather will start cooperating soon, so the Auggies can continue their strong starts to the season outdoors.