Northwest softball looks ahead to the 5-State Classic February 18-20 in Topeka and Emporia, Kansas after a bit of a break from the February 3-4 doubleheaders.
The Bearcats will play an unknown foe and some familiar faces in the 5-State Classic, with three of the same opponents at the February 3-4 Minnesota State University Invitational. The ‘Cats will play six games over three days.
Head coach Naomi Tellez said the team is ready to go out for the first time this year, as the “Cats” have played the entire duration of the MSU Invitational in a domed environment.
“We may be out for the first time, so that’s great,” Tellez said. “We’re just trying to continue our trends from day two in Mankato, and we just want to keep moving with that, but everything is a little different when you’re out.”
Northwest (1-3) will begin the classic with a doubleheader against Minnesota State-Mankato (3-1) for the third time of the season at 12:15 p.m. and Concordia-St. Paul (1-3) for the second fight of the season at 14:30 on the first day of February 18th.
Freshman outfielder Omara Love said she’s ready to get on base early and often during her third game against the Mavericks.
“My advice is to really go to base,” Love said. “I have a lot of speed and can smack, buff and punch. I know who’s behind me and I know they can hit me, so my whole point is just to get on first or get on second, and I know eventually they can move me.
With three of six matchups in the classic against the only teams Northwest has played so far this season: Mankato, Minnesota-Duluth (6-0), and Concordia-St. Paul (1-3) – Tellez said she’s ready to do things differently this time around.
“From a pitching standpoint, we need to hit our spots a little bit better than we did,” Tellez said. “I don’t think we were fully reaching our points, so we were able to position ourselves in the corners much better than we did. Hit-wise, he keeps it swinging.
Northwest will have another doubleheader the next day against Winona State (0-0) at 12:15pm and Sioux Falls (0-0) at 4:45pm on February 19th. The ‘Cats will then look to play Duluth at 10 am and Quincy (0-0) at 12:15 pm on February 20 in its final doubleheader of the weekend.
Love said the team has been working on situational hitting this week in practice, as the team looks to clean up in situations with runners in scoring position.
“We did a lot of specs with runners on certain bases and we’re able to hit runners depending on where people are,” Love said.
With the Bearcats’ first home game not taking place until March 24, Tellez said she can take a toll on herself and the team, but said everyone tries not to think about the negatives of travel.
“It’s a little brutal, but I mean we get games, that’s the flip side,” Tellez said. “Obviously the snow doesn’t help us much, but I mean it is what it is. Being in this part of the country and playing a spring sport, we pretty much knew what we were getting into.