Future is now for ISU softball


Korrie Bysted/ Iowa State Daily

Cathlin Bingham hits the ball during Iowa State’s second game of a doubleheader against Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Cyclones won the game 8-7.

Garrett Kroeger

The ISU softball team is slated to lose six seniors next year. The coaches are not worried, however, because of a youth movement that has begun taking over the team this season by way of a roster riddled with underclassmen.

Currently there are 10 underclassmen of the 19 players on the team’s roster. And Iowa State typically starts five of those 10 underclassmen.

The usual suspects of underclassmen in the starting lineup include freshman Nychole Antillon at third base, sophomore Cathlin Bingham in the outfield, sophomore Rachel Hartman at catcher, freshman Kelsey McFarland and either sophomore Katie Johnson or freshman Brianna Weilbacher at pitcher.

These underclassmen have been putting in work for the Cyclones this season, with the results to back it up. On the offensive side, Antillon, Bingham, Hartman, and McFarland all bat .235 or higher.

“Antillon and McFarland both have figured out this season how Big 12 pitchers work,” said batting coach Lindsey Ubrun. “While with Bingham, she is a lot like Brittany Gomez. She is able to put the ball in play and has the speed to have a chance to get on base.”

This season, Cathlin Bingham is top five on the team with a .345 on base percentage. She has hit three home runs this season as well, and all have been of the grand slam variety.

Not only have all the underclassmen batted well this season, both Hartman and McFarland are in the top five on the team in batting average. But it isn’t just the offensive side of the game to which these underclassmen have been tending.

They collectively own a fielding percentage of .941, and McFarland is leading the team with a perfect fielding percentage. The pitching brought by Katie Johnson and Brianna Weilbacher has also been key for Iowa State this season.

Johnson and Weilbacher have combined for 13 of Iowa State’s 23 wins on the year. During this season, Johnson has allowed a .294 opponent batting average in her 16 appearances, and Weilbacher has allowed a .306 average during her outings.

Even with the impressive statistics, it is important to remember this is the first season Antillon, Bingham, McFarland and Weilbacher have played, let alone started in the Big 12. While these underclassmen have been producing for the Cyclones, there are always areas of improvement.

ISU head coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler believes these first-year starters will make an even bigger impact next year.

“They all work hard and want success,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I just feel really good about what they have done so far, and what they will do in the future.”

The six players are not the only underclassmen who have been producing this year. Sophomore Hope Scheffert is the second basemen of the future as she has started three games for starting senior Reese this season.

Scheffert and freshman Gabby Voulgaris have each batted .235 or better in their appearances for Iowa State this year. Freshman Kaila Konz has added speed to the roster as she has appeared in 31 games as a base runner.

With all the experience the underclassmen have gained this season, the ISU staff has high hopes for the years to come.

“I just feel really good and excited for our team’s future,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.