• By Calli Delsman

MSU softball turning heads this season

The Minot State softball team’s last season was cut short due to the impact of COVID-19 to athletics all over the nation. The team ended their season on a four-game winning streak before the remainder of their games were canceled.

This year, the Beavers can compete, but competition looks a bit different due to COVID-19 rules that the team must follow. Zoya Robbins, a redshirt sophomore on the squad, has seen how a normal season is conducted and explains the differences expected this year.

“The biggest change with COVID-19 so far this season is the schedule change. As softball players, we’re used to a 60-game schedule at least, and we’ve been told multiple times that we’ll be lucky if we get 30 of those games in. We have 44 scheduled, but really everything is still up in the air and still depends on how healthy we are, and how healthy our opponents are,” Robbins said.

The Beavers started the 2021 season Feb. 12 and have produced a 7-5 record so far, with four of the five losses ending in only three or less scores trailing their opponent. With only two more games before conference play begins, Robbins is hopeful they can be more successful than they have been in the past.

“I expect to beat teams that we’ve lost to in the past. I think this season our freshmen class is going to be the difference. Overall, they all want to be here, to prove themselves, and they all go hard. We have 27 girls that want to play, and in softball half the battle is wanting to be successful, wanting the ball, and wanting to show up for your team,” Robbins said.

Having a successful season isn’t about the wins but about what preparation has been done before the season starts. The Beavers have been preparing since last fall to showcase their best play, and they are confident that their work ethic will lead to success.

“We have three pillars on our team: outwork everyone, take care of each other, and attitude/gratitude. We’re our strongest when we live out these pillars,” Robbins said. “The leadership on this team is way more inviting this year as well. Our team doesn’t have captains, but if you were to ask a random player who the leaders are on the team, they’d be able to point out eight to 10 girls, and that’s awesome.”

Robbins and the team hope to end their season with 30 wins under their belt, but they also understand that at any point their season could come to a halt due to COVID-19. They have been doing their best to be prepared for the worst.

“We keep mentally preparing ourselves for the worst, playing our best one pitch at a time. Our mentality is who knows what’s coming next, we just have to ball out every opportunity we get, no matter how many opportunities we do get,” Robbins said.

Although the Beavers just finished with a four-game losing streak, Robbins doesn’t see that as a negative.

“I love how we started, and I also appreciate that we lost four in a row in St. Cloud because we all got smacked in the face and none of us ever want to feel that again,” Robbins said. “I believe those losses lit a fire in a lot of us, and we don’t want to lose like that ever again.”

The Beavers began their conference play with a double header vs. the University of Mary on March 30 at home at the South Hill Softball Complex.

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