WSU Softball leaves weekend with first losses of the season

Lucy LaValley, sports reporter

Winona State University’s women’s softball team traveled down to St. Joseph, Missouri this weekend to participate in the Missouri Western Hy-Vee Classic tournament.
According to the Missouri Western State University the Hy-Vee Classic tournament “is one of the premier NCAA Division II softball crossover events in the Midwest.”
16 teams across the Midwest participated, eight from Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and eight from Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).
Going into the tournament with an undefeated season, the Warriors were proud of where they stood
as a team.
“We are happy with where we are at this point and will continue to build onto our game, but having this strong start to the season is great for our team,” said fourth-year outfielder Carly Kordich.
While in Missouri the Warriors played a total of five games from Friday (March 19) to Sunday (March 21), winning three of the five.
On Friday afternoon, the Warriors started the weekend off strong with a 10-1 win against Missouri Western State University.
Winona State benefited greatly from the Griffon’s errors during this game, getting three runs in at the dispense of a Griffon error.
Moving into the next day, the Warriors played two back-to-back games.
In a close game against Rodgers State, Winona State lost for the first time this season with an ending score of 2-3.
The game went into extra innings to break a 2-2 tie, only for the Warriors to come out short in the end.
The Warriors did not seem to dwell long on the loss against Rodgers State, because the next game that day went very different.
The second game on Saturday was played against Northwest Missouri State University. Winona State ended it with an 8-0 win.
It was a good game for the fourth-year players on the team. Fourth-year pitcher, Jordyn Kleman, did not give up a run in four of the five innings.
Meanwhile, fellow fourth-year outfielder, Katie Kolb, went 5-for-6 at the plate with three runs scored and a run batted in (RBI).
And finally, fourth-year catcher, Ali Nowak, led the team in RBIs with four.
The final day of the tournament started off with an afternoon game against Missouri Southern.
Winona State took the win in this game, making away with a final score of 6-1.
The Warriors shined bright in the seventh inning, earning three runs after a pretty consistent beginning of the game.
Winona State ended the tournament playing Missouri Western State University again, but this time the results were heartbreaking.
The Warriors lost for the second time this weekend, wrapping up with an ending score of 3-1.
After finishing the tournament, first-year pitcher Abbie Hlas says the Hy-Vee Classic is great practice for the rest of the season.
“The Hy-Vee Classic was a good set of games for us because we got to see tougher teams before conference play,” Hlas said. “We took a couple of losses in tight games, but they were good learning experiences for us, and they made us a better team.”
Even though the Warriors lost two games in the tournament, they will hold their heads high as the season continues.
“As a team, we try to focus less on our opponents and more on ourselves,” Nowak said. “We can’t control who we play, where we play or the weather when we play; We just try to focus on playing our game no matter what.”
However, the Warriors do not get a long break after this weekend’s tournament.
The team is back on the road this week to play two games in Fayette, Iowa against Upper Iowa University on Tuesday (March 30).
The Warriors will then come back to Winona to play two games against Minnesota State University-Moorhead on Friday (April 2), then finishwith two games on Saturday (April 3) against Northern State University.