Softball team hopes to break into postseason from road


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Pitcher Tori Torrescano pitches to a Texas A&M opponent Meagan May during the bottom of the sixth inning in the first game of Friday’s double header. The Cyclones fell to the Angies 1-6 at the Southwest Athletic Complex.

Isaac Hunt

After a 14-39 season that included a 2-22 conference record, reasons to be excited about this year may be hard to come by.

But coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said they have 18 reasons, which is the number of women on her team’s roster. Those 18 players will attempt to do something unprecedented: make the postseason.

How does a team with only nine Big 12 wins in the past three years stand so confident while trying to get over the conference hump?

“I think if you get caught up with looking at the big picture, you look at it as a hump,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “If you break it down by players individually and I think, ‘Is this person is capable of doing it? Yes. Is this person? Yes.’

“So when you have all these people that are capable, you have a lot of confidence so it doesn’t seem like a hump at all.”

Senior Tori Torrescano, the team’s primary pitcher and record-holding hitter, has had the same vision throughout her time in Ames.

“We haven’t made it to the postseason at Iowa State,” Torrescano said. “Since I got here as a freshman, that’s been the biggest thing, and I think we can do that.”

Even though Torrescano possesses a wide variety of skills on the field, she said her main role as a leader comes outside the fences.

“I think, more so than being on top of my game, that my attitude is a big thing,” Torrescano said. “Being positive and letting the younger kids know I believe in them and as a team we can accomplish anything.”

Cold climate conditions

After the Cyclone Invitational, which was held during the weekend of Feb. 8-10, the ISU softball team will not compete in another home game until April 5.

Playing on the road is tough, but the Cyclones consider themselves the lucky ones.

Newcomer Hally Lenzine, who joined the Cyclones this season after a two-year stint at Marshalltown Community College, is excited about traveling.

“I love going to all these places. We take planes and buses, before I took 16-passenger vans and stayed in Iowa,” Lenzine said. “Going to huge places and playing the No. 1 and 2 teams in the nation — watching the World Series last year I was thinking, ‘Oh, I get to play them next year.’”

Lenzine was referring to No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oklahoma. Iowa State will have five chances this season to upset either team on the road.

“It’s exciting. You get excited to go to warm places and get out of Iowa,” said Torrescano, a San Diego native. “We get to go to cool schools like Alabama. And I love going home to California.”

Even though they are on the road, it isn’t as easy to lose focus as one may think.

“We have a type of learning center on the road,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We watch a lot of film trying to keep objective and focused in identifying what we do wrong and how to get better.”

Torrescano also said it was good to start the season off at home. Catcher Lenzine agreed and looks forward to more home outings.

“In just the indoor tournament there were a lot of people there,” Lenzine said. “Calling signs and calls from the infield and outfield, you have to be so much louder and more vocal. People are more on the attack. In community college you want to win, but this level is a lot more competitive.”

Ten home games in April and May will more than likely highlight the season for this team and its fans.

“We don’t play at home that much,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “Anytime we play at home we have such great fans. Any series at home will be fun and exciting especially with our brand new stadium. It’s going to be a blast.”