ISU softball team gears up for No. 1 Alabama

Isaac Hunt

This weekend the ISU softball team will attempt to do something no team has done since June: beat Alabama. 

Iowa State (7-4) will travel south to play two games against St. John’s (3-2-1) and two against No. 1 Alabama (18-0).

Playing last year’s champions is going to test the skills of the Cyclones, but they are more than happy to be playing for the upset.

“We get pretty excited,” said senior infielder Erica Miller. “It’s exciting to see a team you are going to play that is on TV. Some of their pitchers are really good and have been on national teams, so it’s good to face them.

“It’s always cool to be the underdog. It’s a win-win situation — if we beat them that’s awesome, if we don’t then it’s still a great team to play,” Miller said.

Of course the sports cliche of “every game is the same” is present with the Cyclones. Although in a game like this, it’s hard to ignore the facts.

“We try to look at it the same way, but it is exciting playing in front of so many people,” said second base junior Sara Davison.

With two games against the top team in the nation, some may feel the pressure, but ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said it’s the opposite and that is how she likes it.

“Sometimes right now they feel a lot of pressure like they are must-win games,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “Then we play someone like Alabama and it frees you up. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Even if Iowa State is unable to beat Alabama, the experience of preparing for and playing against a team of its caliber is something that will help in future games.

“It will be the best competition and most comparable to the Big 12,” Davison said.

Miller said it will help the team see what level they need to play at. The senior added that Gemeinhardt-Cesler expects their best to be their normal.

Davison compared the pitching to that of Oklahoma and the speed that the Big 12 pitchers also have. This will give the Cyclones a glimpse into what upcoming competition will be like.

“It helps us a bunch, especially with our conference,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “It’s a good experience to see what the future is like, too.”

Improving is always on the coach’s mind — whether it’s in practice, games, or watching film. Improvement is the goal every day, but on game days there is more on her mind.

“You always want to win,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

The Cyclones will begin competition at the Easton Classic on March 1 at 1 p.m. against the Red Storm before their 3:30 p.m. games against the Crimson Tide.