Congrats to the Following Force Players and Coaches Headed to the Minnesota State High School League State Tournament in Mankato-
Concordia St. Paul High School-Emma Brunn
East Ridge High School- Sidney Zavoral
Forest Lake High School- Sammie Schoonover
Mahtomedi High School-Grace Hadlich, Lauren Laviano, Haley Rosenthal
Maple Grove High School-Elizabeth Berry, Sophie Culhane, Leah Ihle
St. Michael High School- Maddy McCann
Stillwater High School-Katie Kurzejeski
1. Iowa State (35-23, 7-11 Big 12) is headed to Fort Collins, Colo. to compete in the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) finals this weekend at Triple Crown Sports. Iowa State will play defending NISC champion Loyola Marymount on Friday at 2 p.m. CT. A free live stream (via YouTube) will be available for every game of the championship round. For more information on where to follow the live stream or live stats, visit the softball schedule page on Cyclones.com.
2. The Cyclones punched their ticket to Fort Collins by going 3-0 at the NISC Ames Regional, defeating South Dakota and Purdue (twice) to earn a spot in the championship round. Iowa State will be joined at Triple Crown Sports by Loyola Marymount, Liberty and UT Arlington in a double-elimination bracket.
3. Kaylee Bosworth, Emma Hylen, Talyn Lewis, Sydney Stitesand Sami Williams (MVP) were named to the NISC All-Region team following Iowa State's title-clinching victoy over Purdue. Williams went 8-of-12 at the plate with six runs, five doubles and two RBI to lead the Iowa State offense during the three-game stretch.
4. The Cyclones' NISC bid marks the program's first time in a national postseason tournament since 1988, when Iowa State advanced to NCAA Regionals in Lincoln, Neb.
5. Iowa State's 35 wins are tied for the program's most since going 37-29-1 in 1982, and ISU's fifth-place finish in the Big 12 is tied for its best final conference standing since 1993. The Cyclones will also finish with a winning record for the first time since 1995.
6. Williams is in the midst of the greatest individual season in program history. The junior has already set single-season Iowa State records in doubles (23), home runs (15) and runs scored (52) and is three base hits shy of breaking the single-season hits record (79) as well.
7. Williams, a First Team All-Big 12 selection, is currently the only Division I softball player in the country with at least a .390 batting average, 23 doubles and 15 home runs. She ranks No. 2 nationally with 40 extra base hits on the season, one behind NCAA leader Linda Rush (Drexel).
8. Senior Emma Hylen, a third-team All-Region selection, was dominant at the NISC Ames Regional, going 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 18.0 innings of action. The native of Roseville, Minn., rang up 10 strikeouts during the tournament. Her 2.88 ERA is on pace to by the lowest single-season earned run average by a Cyclone pitcher since 2010 (Rachel Zabriskie - 2.74).
9. Hylen, already Iowa State's career leader in saves with nine, continues to climb the school's all-time rankings in several categories. Her 44 career wins are No. 5 in ISU history. She is also among the all-time leaders in appearances (No. 3- 144), games started (No. 4 - 78), innings pitched (No. 3 - 558.1) and strikeouts (No. 9 - 308).
10. Heading into NISC play, Iowa State was No. 52 in the NCAA's weekly RPI rankings. No. 52 would be the highest RPI finish in program history. The Cyclones were ranked No. 44 on April 8, 2019, which was the highest weekly RPI ranking ever achieved by Iowa State.
11. Iowa State's much-improved defense has been a catalyst to success in 2019. The Cyclones boast the Big 12's No. 3 defense with a .970 fielding percentage (up from .956 in 2018) and rank No. 5 nationally in double plays turned with 32 on the year.
12. Iowa State defeated No. 8 Texas in the opening game of the 2019 Big 12 Championship, notching its first win over a top-10 team since March 9, 2013 (vs. No. 8 Oregon). It was also ISU's first postseason win since May 8, 2009 (vs. Kansas - Big 12 Tournament). ISU's third-place game at the 2019 Big 12 Championship was canceleld due to weather and field conditions.
13. Savannah Sanders is also climbing Iowa State's all-time pitching charts. The native of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is No. 3 in school history with 80 career starts, No. 4 in games pitched with 124 and No. 9 in innings pitched with 451.2. Sanders is also No. 12 in all-time strikeouts with 272.
14. Prior to this season, Iowa State had never swept multiple three-game series vs "Power 5" opponents in the same season. The 2019 Cyclones have three such three-game sweeps (Georgia Tech, Baylor, Kansas).
Sydney Smith’s college softball career will come full circle this weekend, when the senior pitcher’s present collides with her past.
The Maple Grove grad and No. 2 pitcher for the No. 7-seeded Gophers spent her first two college seasons at LSU. Smith went 25-11 during her freshman and sophomore seasons in Baton Rouge, sporting a 1.65 earned-run average in those two years as the Tigers’ third-most utilized arm.
Smith said she “matured a lot” during those two seasons.
“I think it was definitely an experience to kind of figure out who I was and what I wanted to be,” she said. “I think I matured on the field. I had to grow up pretty fast. … Those two years definitely kind of shaped me and taught me who I really wanted to be and how to stand up for myself and have a voice.”
Following her sophomore season, Smith decided to transfer and had a good idea of where she wanted to go: home. She arrived at Minnesota as a junior and has served as a valuable member of the Gophers’ pitching staff.
There’s a decent chance Smith could be in the circle at some point this weekend when the Gophers (44-12) take on 10th-seeded Louisiana State (43-17) in a Super Regional at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium —
battling her former team in the best-of-three series.
Smith still talks to a few of her former teammates. But her current focus is on the here and now, helping Minnesota try to reach the program’s first Women’s College World Series.
She admitted transferring is “always kind of a scary thing,” because you don’t know if your next landing spot will be a good fit. But Minnesota has been just that for the senior hurler.
“I couldn’t be more happy being here,” Smith said. “Being somewhere that I’ve lived the majority of my life and being around people that are so awesome, I think it’s a good way to spend the rest of your career.”
Smith said she didn’t realize how much she missed Minnesota until she returned. She’s relished the chance to compete with and in front of familiar faces. Asked how to describe her junior and senior campaigns, Smith said, “amazing.”
“The school is awesome, team is awesome, coaches are awesome,” said Smith, who graduated with a degree in business and marketing education and has an internship lined up with Minnesota Fastpitch Academy softball. “I couldn’t ask for a better two years to end playing college softball. I think it was all meant to be this way, and I think coming to Minnesota has really shaped me into who I want to be in the future.”
Smith is 13-5 this season with a 2.48 earned-run average. She played a major role in the Gophers earning their national seed and likely will have a say in how far their season extends.
But just as important as her on-the-field contributions is the mentality she’s helped deliver in the dugout.
“She’s just brought this demeanor about her that is very laid back and relaxed, but also super confident,” senior outfielder Maddie Houlihan said. “She works hard every single day in practice, and she’s a teammate that everyone loves to have. I’m really, really honored that she graduated alongside me and that we get to share these last two years together. She’s a very special person.”
Part of that can be credited to Smith’s time at LSU. She said that experience helped shape her into the teammate and player she is today.
Smith’s Tigers reached the World Series in both of her two seasons at LSU. She believes this Gophers team can do the same, noting the team’s balance across the board.
“You can’t ask for a better way to end your career than in Oklahoma City, so hopefully that’s where we end up,” Smith said. “We’ve already accomplished so much as a team, and we’re not done yet. I think just being a senior, it kind of makes it a little more exciting, because that’s the end goal, to end up at Oklahoma City.”
Aubree, Terris, St Francis Softball
The junior catcher was one hit from a perfect week at the plate. She was 3 for 4 with a home run, a double and five RBI in a victory over Grand Rapids. She went 5-5 with a home run and four RBI as the Saints defeated Coon Rapids.
Force Tryouts Begin August 6th. Please Click the Minnesota Force Tab Above
Click on the Minnesota Force Academy Tab for more info on our Force Academy Training Program designed for 10U/12U players
Julie Standering's Minnesota Fastpitch Academy is a softball consulting organization committed to the development of Minnesota youth softballers of all ages through player programs for skill development, leadership development of youth and high school coaches and the support of softball organizations within Minnesota townships. This first of its kind consulting team features elite fastpitch softball training from the most experienced and accomplished fastpitch coaches and players ever assembled in the state of Minnesota.
The purpose of the Minnesota Fastpitch Academy is to build better women athletes and leaders by further expanding the scope and opportunity for social and athletic development for young women throughout Minnesota, through intense skills and sports psychology development from elite, world class female softball players and coaches. The organization is designed to expand the system of women's social and athletic development by creating a natural process for success mentoring through elite fastpitch softball training. The MFA sees an opportunity to play a significant role in the ongoing process of building momentum and enthusiasm for women's softball, while fostering interest and participation in Minnesota youth programs at all levels.
With an organization like Julie Standering's Minnesota Fastpitch Academy, Minnesota female youth athletes have an opportunity to exponentially excel their development. With more than 60 million softball players worldwide (60% of whom are women), and Minnesota being one of the highest states for amateur participation per capita, the landscape is ripe for a superior women's mentoring program. The MFA's athletes and professionals are excited with the prospect of giving back to Minnesota's communities through the development of women softball players, coaches, and programs.
MFA Camp Staff,
I also wanted to thank all of you for an amazing experience!! Jordyn had
a blast at camp and literally could not wait to come each day. :-) She
loved the coaches and learned a lot, is excited to apply it all to her
game. She is so disappointed that she'll miss out on the last day.
Thanks again for such a great experience!
I hope all is going well with you & you are enjoying your spring! I just had to drop you a quick note. Allie had her first games, and first playing with a new team. She got up to bat 4 times and hit EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! She got a triple and 3 doubles and two of them hit the grass on first bounce! She really took what you all taught her to heart and it showed. When we got in the car to come home, she goes "Mom, those hits felt really good! And I know I was running faster and I know that is from being at MFA." She also got the "most supportive teammate" award from her coach for cheering on her teammates - pretty cool to watch:)
Thank you again for all your encouragement to Allie and all she's learned. She'll carry it forever.
Hi Coach B, I just wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to you and all of the MFA staff!! Since joining your group, the improvement in Julia's hitting has been amazing. She hit back to back homeruns followed by a triple in the championship game and went 9 for 11 total in her high school tournament today. It's great to see the progress. You guys are amazing!!
I am a Mom that has coached both of her daughters for the last 3 years and both are now 6 & 9 years old. I knew my oldest was ready for the next level and needed a new experience. My youngest, who picked up the sport early on, lacked the confidence to play if Mom wasn’t nearby coaching and a fear of being outside her comfort zone to learn new things. My oldest daughter loved the experience she had at one of MFA’s pitching clinics, and how much fun they made everything. I knew they were the right team to help me with both my daughter’s needs. The first day of their Instructional Clinic, both girls fearlessly learned new drills and left with soaring confidence due to the team’s ability to make them feel good about what they were learning. MFA kept both young girls 100% engaged the entire time, and they loved every minute of it. Only disappointment the girls had was the follow day when it wasn’t Clinic Day! Kudos to MFA for giving my girls a great experience and making them love softball even more. One satisfied Mom, and two very excited and happy girls. Thank you MFA!
Bella had try-outs for both her in-house team and the travel team and she received rave reviews from all of the coaches. She made the top travel team and the coach sent me a note commenting on her amazing improvement and confidence. He was in awe of her hitting, and all of her skills really. He's not overly known for his praise so I know if he says it, he really means it!!
MFA is a big part of that improvement so I wanted to thank you and Julie for the great work you do. We'll be back for more training for sure. We've had tons of parents ask us what she did to improve so much in the off season and we're spreading the word about the great work you do. She was good before but now she's at another level of play, which is exciting to see. You make it so fun that she never feels like it's a chore to go and it's clearly paid off in her skills and confidence. She can't wait for the season to start. Thanks again -
Please click on the Force tab and then on the tryout tab for more information about Minnesota Force tryouts.
Fun in the sun!!! Syd enjoyed a 3 game sweep of the U of A Wildcats over the University of Texas
Thank you for your love of teaching softball to the crazy girls who love learning from you! The picture of all the girls is awesome, thank yoy taking the time to take it (no small task getting them to assemble in any manner with all that energy) and then taking the time to send share it.
You are a blessing to my daughter Paige she thinks the world of you and Julie.
Julie's personal commitment to excellence is amazing! She has a great understanding of the mental approach needed to excel at the next level! Head Coaching Legend University of Arizona