ISU softball plans to take advantage of home season opener

Ben Paulus

The Iowa State softball team opens up its season this weekend in Ames for the Cyclone Invitational. The Invitational will be played under the dome of the Bergstrom Football Complex on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.

Iowa State starts the season facing off two familiar teams from last season’s Cyclone Invitational. The Cyclones will face Indiana State at noon and South Dakota State at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the first of two doubleheaders of the weekend.

ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler has high expectations for her team this weekend and heading into the season.

“It’s important for us to come out and take care of the ball and for our pitchers to keep the ball down,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I also expect an explosive offense for us this season.”

Heading into the Invitational, the Cyclones try to take advantage of being home to start off the season. The next time Iowa State is home for a game after the Invitational is late in March.

“This is a really good opportunity for us to come out hot into the season,” said second baseman Sara Davison. “We can gain some momentum heading into the next month on the road.”

Iowa State has been practicing in the Bergstrom Football Complex in anticipation for the Cyclone Invitational.

“This field definitely plays a little bit different,” Davison said. “I feel like we are more comfortable with the rules, and how the turf and ceiling come into play. ”

Regardless of whether or not home field advantage is going to play a factor, the Cyclones will have their work cut out for them this weekend.

“I expect Indiana State and South Dakota State both to be pretty scrappy,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “Both teams like to run a lot and use short game. They are both teams that can capitalize on mistakes that you make.”

Iowa State has a large number of last year’s roster returning, as well as the addition of five freshmen and transfer players. The most evident change the team will notice this season is the pitching staff with the addition of freshman Katie Johnson and transfers Stacy Roggentien and Paris Imholz.

“Pitching is always the issue in softball,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I think once we have everyone healthy, they will be a really good compliment to each other.”

Johnson, who has been tabbed as the starter for Iowa State this weekend, is holding the Cyclones and herself to a high standard for the start of the season.

“I hold high expectations for myself and I know our whole team does as well,” Johnson said. “We just need to come out strong from the first pitch until the very last.”