Softball season kicks off with first tournament


Iowa State outfielder Cathlin Bingham bats against Omaha on April 14, 2016. Iowa State lost the game 6-4. 

Tara Larson

The moment the softball team has been anticipating all winter is here.

The season-opening tournament begins Friday in Lafayette, Louisiana. The first game is against the home team, No. 11 UL-Lafayette, at 5:30 p.m.

The Cyclones are coming off a 20-35 record, with just one win in the conference. But with a new coach and overall culture, the team is not worried about matching up against the ranked UL-Lafayette.

“It’s going to be a great test for all the things we’re looking for out of our players,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said. “I’m not really nervous.”

Sophomore Savannah Sanders is feeling similarly to Trachsel on the first game of the season.

“We have a long off-season, so when you get to play you don’t really even have those nerves,” Sanders said. “More than anything, I’m just excited to be back on the field and competing.”

Another player, freshman Sami Williams, is excited to see how the first game pans out.

“I think [playing UL-Lafayette] will definitely be a challenge for us, but how we handle it will really tell a lot about how we’ve changed as a team and how we’re growing,” Williams said.

The culture change brought in by Trachsel and her supporting staff has influenced the players as well.

“It’s been a change in mentality,” senior Cathlin Bingham said. “We’ve changed to sort of a no excuses mentality. [We’ve been] doing the little things right, too, which I think is huge and maybe something we didn’t do as well before.”

This tournament will be Trachsel’s first chance to coach the team, as she replaced former head coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler this past June. The former North Dakota State softball co-head coach has been working since the summer to prepare her players.

“A big thing for this weekend I’m looking for is if our kids going to trust their preparation and trust their training,” Trachsel said. “I want see if the way they come to the field for practice, if they can carry that over to the game.”

The team not only went through a change in coaching staff, but also lost key players like Brittany Gomez and Aly Cappaert. Even with the loss in those players, Bingham remains positive.

“I think with this team, we’re kind of the grinders,” Bingham said. “We don’t have maybe the huge talent standouts, but I think everyone knows their role and is going to execute. I think we’ll win games working as a team instead of relying on two great players.”

The tournament begins with the Cyclones facing UL-Lafeyette on Friday evening, the first of five for Iowa State’s weekend. On Saturday, the team faces DePaul at 9 a.m. and Southern Miss at 11:30 a.m. They finish out the tournament with two games on Sunday, with Ball State at 9 a.m. and DePaul again at 11:30 a.m.