ROSEVILLE, Minn. – As Spring approaches and the snow slowly starts to melt off the softball and baseball competition fields; both programs anxiously await to start their respective seasons. Last season the UNW softball team recorded a 10-6 conference record, earning them an impressive .625 winning percentage in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. Coach Du’Monceaux’s squad would again appear at the UMAC tournament and come up just two wins away from winning the conference title, concluding their spectacular season. Senior Ellie Ronning and Junior Briggs Carlson led the Eagle’s outstanding 2021 season, and both were named to the UMAC All-Conference team. This season, Carlson will be one of the few starting players returning for the Eagles. She will be looking to continue her successes in the circle for a very young squad that will have the vital job of backing her up on the field defensively and offensively.
Although the Eagle’s will be without a few key seniors going into the upcoming season, coach Du’Monceaux is confident that the program’s success will continue to grow with the young talent being brought in. ” The key to our success this season is to get our team unified and all working towards the same goals throughout the season. We have a lot of new members on the team, so getting them all on board with how UNW Softball works and how quickly they adjust and adapt will be a key to our success. It will also be important for us to stay healthy and strong throughout the season so we can go deep into the post-season,” states coach Du’Monceaux. The Eagles will take the field for the first time as a new team on February 26, 2022, when they face the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in a non-conference matchup in Mankato, MN.
Just as the softball team had an outstanding 2020-2021 performance, the UNW baseball team had much to celebrate after their past season. The Eagles baseball team recorded an impressive 15-1 conference record, giving them a .938 winning percentage. For the first time in school history, the eagles would win (and host) the 2021 UMAC baseball tournament that would give them a berth to the NCAA D3 baseball Regionals. The Eagles would make a run in Regionals; however, they would come up just shy of advancing to the D3 college world series.
Coach Hieb credits the team’s success to the electrifying offense and pitching staff who dominated the conference and their non-conference opponents. Hieb states, “The key to this season will be what our pitching staff does this year. We have one of the strongest pitching staff in DIII Baseball in the area, and we are looking for our guys to be better this year. We have the potential to have this pitching staff shut down teams and let our offense score runs.”
The Eagles will not lack in talent this coming season as they welcome back many of their players from last season, along with the addition of a talented freshman class. “We return most of our starters from last year. We have probably one of the deepest pools of talent we have ever had at Northwestern. We have Sam Peterson, Guerin Szafraniec, and Keegan Vercoe as Senior defensive starters who accounted for over 20 home runs from 2021.”
Undoubtedly, the Eagles will continue their success into the 2022 season, and coach Heib looks forward to seeing what his squad will accomplish this year with much hard work and dedication from everyone on his roster. “We have a high-energy group of guys who put pressure on other teams. That comes from all 34 guys on the roster. I feel really good about this season, but we need to show up every game playing at a high level…”