Piper softball aims to continue success

Isaac Roy, Sports Reporter

With the 2023 season underway, the Hamline Softball team looks to have another winning season following a 19–15 record in their 2022 campaign. While just having four wins over the .500 mark, this was an immense improvement to the 2021 season where they could only muster six wins total. 

“COVID hit us hard with some recruited players that decided not to come and also retention with a couple other players,” Head Coach James Rubbelke said. “But it allowed several players to receive some playing experience which helped them the following year.” 

   The season began last weekend with a double header Saturday where the Pipers defeated Northwestern 5–2 with sophomore Jenna Rubbelke going 4–4 with a triple. Later in the day they fell to a nine run performance from Bethany Lutheran. 

“We have several first-year players that will get significant playing time and the hope is that they will learn fast,” Rubbelke said. “The four games over the weekend are a great opportunity to see where we need to get to as a team.” 

While a chunk of the team has lower collegiate experience as only two juniors and two seniors are in the program, the leaders of the team who have been around since before the COVID-19 inflicted seasons look to build to the future of the program along with the coaching staff.

 Fifth-year senior Dana Rosbacka was not able to participate in most of the team workouts through the offseason with a student-teaching job that was a conflict to the workout schedule. She had to train on her own. However, she noted she has still had the opportunity to spend lots of time with her team. 

“I’m very excited to see how our team plays on the field together,” Rosbacka said. “We’ve spent lots of time with each other outside of practice and what not, and I’d say we’ve put a lot of time in with becoming friends and getting to know each other.” 

The team will also have a better chance to get to know each other even more with a big Florida trip over spring break, in which they will play 10 games in five days. Following the break, the Pipers remaining schedule consists of only conference opponents. 

Coach Rubbelke is excited about the opportunity to play the MIAC schedule, which he noted is full of talented teams and he is ready to compete against them. The in-conference gauntlet is scheduled to begin with a two-game series where the Pipers will host the College of Saint Scholastica.

   While the younger roster may cause a few bumps in the road, the team is still poised with talent and stuck to their roots over the winter. 

“I don’t think we really did anything differently in the offseason that we did in past years,” Rubbelke said. “You just hope that the players you recruit will be self motivated to get better each day as athletes, students and as teammates.” 

   The Pipers will attempt to bring another winning season to the program and to bury the old 6–22 record.