Cyclone softball prepares for ranked Michigan, has high hopes


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Katie Johnson winds up a pitch during Iowa State’s 4-3 win over Indiana State on Feb. 8 at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Rachel Anderson

The ISU softball team has not seen many ranked teams yet this season.

The only ranked team the Cyclones have faced so far was No. 21 LSU at the Purple and Gold Challenge in Lousinsia.

This weekend at the Class Act Federal Credit Union Classic in Ky., the Cyclones will face No. 7 Michigan. Iowa State does not believe Michigan is its only competition because they are ranked. ISU head coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said Wisconsin and Kent State are big competition as well.

“Obviously Michigan is ranked the highest, but I think that all the teams present different things that are challenging. I think it’ll be fun to play against all the teams. Kent State has been playing well. Wisconsin is good. All three of them are good,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Freshman pitcher Katie Johnson agrees with Gemeinhardt-Cesler. She said she believes playing Michigan, especially, will be a great experience because Iowa State has the opportunity to play at the top level.

Michigan’s junior pitcher Haylie Wagner was just named Big 10 Pitcher of the Week. The Cyclones have not yet this season seen a pitcher with this kind of award.

Sophomore infielder Aly Cappaert is excited to hit against a pitcher of Wagner’s ability.

“As hitters, it’s awesome just knowing it is going to be a challenge and we’re going to see a pitcher like we’re going to see in conference play in a couple weeks,” Cappaert said.

Johnson has high hopes for Iowa State to come out swinging hard against Wagner.

“It drives us even more [playing against ranked pitcher] because we know that we really have to bring our ‘A’ game and really challenge her [Wagner]. I think it will be really hard for her to come out and pitch,” Johnson said.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler believes that playing against the tough teams this weekend will really bring out the best in the Cyclones.

“I think right now we’re hitting really well as a team. We usually tend to hit better as a team when we face a better pitcher,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “So I think it will be a really good match up.”

The Cyclones plan on brushing off last weekend at Shocker Softball Classic. Gemeinhardt-Cesler said the Cyclones should not compare the difference of last week but instead to go out and play their game every time.

The focus this weekend is not just at the plate. Gemeinhardt-Cesler sees the pitching staff will have a lot of opportunities to throw this weekend. Johnson said she wants to come out being more aggressive offensively and keep everything tight on defense.

“My focus is to get ahead and stay ahead. Keep runs to a minimum for my team and do our work on offense,” Johnson said.

The Cyclones take on Kent State at 1:00 p.m. Friday at the Class Act Federal Credit Union Classic. Iowa State as a whole wants to sweep the competition and add four wins to its record.

“Winning all the games, hitting like we did last weekend, getting on base, and getting the job done,” Cappaert said.