The Bemidji State University softball team packed up its gear and headed to Florida for its spring training trip from March 11 to 18. During spring break, the team hit the field 13 times over a seven-day span in its final week of tune-up action before beginning Norther Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play.
Over the course of the trip, junior infielder Megan Bergeson (New London-Spicer, Minn.) kept BSU softball fans up to date with what the team is up to on and off the field with a blog, which you can read below.
Day 1 - Monday, March 11, 2013
This morning, we departed Bemidji at around 8:30 a.m. All of the girls were very excited for the upcoming trip. After a four-hour bus ride, we arrived at the airport. Airport security was a little tricky—senior pitcher Kelsey Saralampi was worried she would sound the alarms—but needless to say we all made it in without any trouble. When entering the terminal we discovered a nearby college, Itasca Community College’s baseball team, was sharing the flight with us. What a small world.
After waiting and getting a good lunch in, we boarded the plane. Most of our ladies were scared to set out into the air for the two-hour, 57-minute flight. Finally we reached our destination, the Sunshine state.
We flew into Orlando, Fla., but had another 50-minute drive to our hotel located in Cocoa Beach. As we entered Cocoa Beach around 10:30, you could say we were a little hungry. If you must know, we are very cranky when we are not fed and our coaches can vouch for that. We set out for the local IHOP and enjoyed a great first meal in Florida.
Lastly, after getting to our hotel and showered/unpacked, it was bedtime. Hopefully our team will be well rested for our 6 a.m. wake up call tomorrow as we set out for our first games in the dirt. The Beavers have an incoming doubleheader against St. Mary of the Woods. St Mary’s has been a strong competitor within its own conference. Later in the day, we face Fisher College from Massachusetts.
After a full day of games, we will surely be worn out, but we are planning to take the first 3 games and many more after that.
Day 2 - Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Today was our first day of games. Playing in Florida, you might think we would come back after our first day with a wicked sun burn and some sweat stains on our uniforms. We traded those in for wet hair and mud stains.
The weather today was not on our side. We pulled out the first win after a couple short rain delays. Molly Arola had her first colligate at bat and drove a ball to deep left field, scoring Brittany Lenander from first base to boost the score 2-0. Senior Kelsey Saralampi pitched the complete game and, with help from her fielders, held St Mary’s to a scoreless first game. The team was very proud of Saralampi for holding together and pitching strong even with pouring rain and a slippery ball.
During the second game of the doubleheader, a new addition to the team, BSU hockey player Allie Duellman, took the mound for the first time since high school, which was back in 2010. You could say she was a little nervous. Duellman pitched a great game, but our bats couldn’t answer. We had the hits but just not when we needed them. We lost the second game versus St. Mary’s by a heartbreaking 3-1 score.
We won the third game 21-0. Our sophomore pitcher, Allison Roberts, started us up. Roberts has recently been dealing with an injury. She broke her foot in January during a practice. Even with some slight pain she fanned six batters and fielded her position well (even if she had to limp to the ball). Our bats came alive with multiple hits from Nicole Dupay, Molly Arola and Cassie MacArthur. Along with those hits, Mikayla Osterman a freshmen from Arizona knocked one over the fence for a two-run homerun. Finally, during the last inning of the last game, the sun peered out from the clouds, and the softball gods said "Let there be light".
After a long day of games, we were ready for some food. Like I mentioned earlier, you won’t like us when we are hungry. We headed back to the hotel to scrap the dirt from our skin and later walked to nearby steakhouse where we treated to steak dinners. We dined like queens. After another long day in Florida, we are set to wake up at 8 a.m. tomorrow to get a couple more wins under our belts.
Day 3 - Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Today we woke up around 7 a.m. got in a good breakfast then headed to Clermont. Clermont is an hour and a half away from our hotel. After a quick snooze in the vans on the way we took the field around 11 a.m. The first game started off a little bumpy with three runs scored in the first inning by our opposing team West Liberty from West Virginia. We answered back later in the game with a run scored by Nicole Dupay after plating a double. Still down, we proceeded to fight but lost our chances. Jineane Williams, a freshman, started things off the top of the sixth by drawing a walk. Base hits from myself and Chelsey Watson (also a freshman) loaded the bases for Nicole Dupay who hit a line shot right at the second basemen and Williams was doubled out. It was a tear-jerking end of the inning, but that’s how the game goes. The game ended with a 4-1 score.
In the second game, Allie Duellman took the mound for the Beavers. Things started out with back-to-back doubles from Williams and our Arizona favorite Mikayla Osterman. We then took the lead 1-0. The lead soon fell out of our hands, as the bats from Bridgeport of Connecticut got stronger. We had hits of our own—Crystal Bowen, senior third basemen roped a double to center field with no outs but was stranded on the bases. The Beavers marooned nine runners on the bases today. One thing we need to take away from play today is getting those RBIs. The final score of the game was 5-1.
At least the sun was shining on us (some of us a little too hard). I left the first day of Florida sun with a red farmers tan. We set out for some food and made the drive back to Cocoa Beach. The road tolls are the worst part about driving in Florida. Good thing we have a coach with such a friendly face—he loves brightening the days of the lonely tollbooth workers (so he says).
When we returned some of the girls walked down to the beach. Some girls on the team, including Summer Monsrud and Chelsea Tollberg, had never swum in the ocean before. We all took a quick swim just before the sun went down.
Another day of excitement in Florida, we are set to hit the dirt tomorrow at 1 and 3.
Day 4 - Thursday, March 14, 2013
We took another early start today around 8 a.m. The games were played today in Clermont, so we hit the road for another 90 minute drive. We had an early lunch at a sandwich shop in town called Crispers. The team stocked up on salads and sandwiches to prepare for the upcoming competition.
The first game was a tough contender, St. Joseph’s from Indiana. Kelsey Saralampi entered the pitching circle first for the Beavers. Saralampi was at the top of her game, painting the corners with her nasty curveball and mean looking screwball. We scored early in the game when Jineane Williams smacked a double and advanced to third on a bunt by myself. Mikayla Osterman then came in to pinch hit and drove in the run. In the last inning, Molly Arola stepped up and got an RBI triple for us to hang on a little longer but she was stranded on third and the game ended with a final score of 4-2.
In the second game, we started strong scoring right away in the first inning with a base hit by Summer Monsrud. She took second base with her speed and earned a stolen base. Nicole Dupay then drove in Monsrud with a base knock. Our pitching started off strong with Allie Duellman winding up. She had three scoreless innings with help from the solid defense in the infield. Bentley, from Massachusetts then answered back with some base hits through the infield to tie the score. Still in the game we continued to fight, but again we left too many runners on base and couldn’t get the hits when we needed them. Summer Monsrud then used her speed once again to achieve an infield hit and made her way home from a bleeder in right field placed perfectly by Osterman. Monsrud had a great game at the plate going 4-for-4. Sophomore pitcher Allison Roberts went in the 5th inning to close things out, but we ran out of chances and suffered another loss, 7-2.
After a harsh day of games, we went out to Chili's in Clermont to drown our sorrows in delicious food. Feeling a little better, we set out back to Cocoa Beach where our coach decided to miss an exit and backtrack us a bit. Luckily, Monsrud had some extra quarters to pay a few tolls to take us on a round about back to right highway. It can be expensive to miss a turn in Florida. Finally, we arrived at our hotel and some girls went for a swim in the pool and others took a walk down the strip and hit up the famous Ron Jons Surf Shop.
Tomorrow is our day off from the dirt and the team is excited to spend a relaxing day on the beach. The daring members of our team are scheduled to go parasailing at noon. Check back tomorrow to hear about our experience.
Today was our one and only day away from the fields. Some girls decided to spend a day with their parents that came along to watch. Various teammates enjoyed a day of Sea World, Daytona Beach, and deep-sea fishing. As for me, I decided to be reckless and join the group of parasailers.
We set out in the morning for Cape Canaveral, just a few miles down the coast from Cocoa Beach. Allie Duellman talked myself, six other teammates and our athletic trainer Corrine, to take off 800 feet into the air. The view was spectacular as we saw all of cape Canaveral, miles down the coast, and far off into the ocean. We could see huge barge ships, fishing boats, and even caught a glimpse of the Kennedy Space Center. I just hoped we wouldn’t see any sharks while we were out there. We were parachuted up two at a time and Summer Monsrud was my partner. She was a little upset when the crew brought us in and dropped her whole bottom half in the ocean (she doesn’t like fish).
After getting our land legs back and getting over our seasickness from the boat we headed to the beach. A few of us laid in the soft sand and took in some rays. Kelsey Saralampi and I attempted to go boogie boarding. We swam out to the end of the pier and tried to ride some big waves. Boogie boarding actually is a lot harder then it sounds. Saralampi and I got tossed under the waves a couple times, mostly me. Thinking we had gotten enough water in our ears, we headed back in.
We sited some sand volleyball courts on the beach. Nearby was a man and his 12-year-old son. They quickly offered to join us for a game. The rest of their group united and wanted to get in on the action so we took them on six-on-six. Their group was from Texas. We had fun teasing them for their accents and their continuous use of the word “y'all”. Soon the competition grew intense; it was “Minnesoooota” (according to the Texans’ impression of our accents), versus Texas. Our contenders were a hoot to play with and really took the game of sand volleyball seriously. Later, some more teammates found their way to the beach and we took them on for a second time. After it was all said and done, we shook hands and they wished us luck on the rest of our games this weekend.
Ending the wonderful day, we decided to go out to dinner. We walked to the pier and had seafood at Marlins. We discussed our experiences today and shared stories about our sunburns. Having a great day in Florida, we were able to take our minds off the game of softball for a bit and enjoy some vacation time. Tomorrow, we are back at it bright and early with a 9 a.m. start in Titusville. We are ready to break this losing streak not only from the games yesterday, but also from the volleyball loss to the Texans.
Day 6 - Saturday, March 16, 2013
Today we drove to Titusville for two exhibition games. These teams were junior colleges but highly-ranked. The second team was last year’s national champion. Kelsey Saralampi started things off for the Beavers. Having pitched a lot of games, she had a sore arm. The first game was a little rocky. After our 6 a.m. wake up it took some time for our bats to get going. We picked up a run from Nicole Dupay who got on by an error and was hit in by senior Crystal Bowen. Later, we gained another after a few walks and a Summer Monsrud base hit up the middle.
In the second game, we started fresh and all around dominated our opponent. Allie Duellman pitched a great game for the Beavers. Duellman held them to a scorless game. Our bats came alive with three homeruns in one inning starting with a solo homer by Molly Arola. Nicole Dupay then came up with a base knock and Bowen approached the plate and hit a bomb over the left field fence to get us another two runs. Later in that same inning, Jineane Williams drove a ball deep to left center to earn her first collegiate home run. We had an errorless defense with many catches made in the outfield. Duellman took control and earned the win for the Beavers.
After our games, we went to a local sub shop to fuel up for the rest of the day. Our coach, however, walked to Crystal's (the Florida equivilent to White Castle) where he downed three double cheeseburgers. He is a huge fan of White Castle constantly begs us to stop.
Some girls headed out to a spring training game where they watched the Nationals play the Astros. Others decided to stay back and have one last go at the beach. I stayed at the beach and took another go at boogie boarding and had another round of beach volleyball.
Coach treated us all to a great Italian dinner at Brano's where we carb loaded with pasta and lasagna. Coach even bought mussels as appetizers and made all the girls try one. Lyndsey Peterson had a hard time keeping her mussel down. I don’t think she will be ordering them anytime soon.
We have four games left in the Sunshine state and will be looking for four more wins from the Beavers.
Day 7 - Sunday, March 17, 2013
Today we set out to Titusville once again to face a double header against Gallaudet College. Gallaudet is a school for the deaf from Washington D.C. Coming into the games, Gallaudet had a record of 8-0. Starting right away for the Beavers was Kelsey Saralampi. She hurled a scoreless game from the mound. Our bats came to life with hits all through the line up. The Beavers just couldn’t stay off the base paths. Cassie MacArthur and Nicole Dupay both sailed the ball over the fence earning their first colligate homeruns. The ending score was 22-0.
In the second game, Allie Duellman saw the rubber again for the Beavers. Duellman pitched the first two innings and held them scoreless once again. The bats started right away in the first inning for the Beavers, gaining seven runs, starting with a base knock by Molly Arola followed by a bunt base hit by Dupay. Then, Crystal Bowen stepped up and drove in the runs. Hits were produced all around the lineup once again. Lyndsey Peterson came in for Duellman in the third, keeping Gallaudet on their feet and continuing not let them reach home. The Beavers gained another run after Mikayla Osterman started things off with a base hit and scored on a wild pitch. Allison Roberts went in to shut things down for the Beavers. Roberts fanned a batter and forced a pop out and an easy ground out to third base to end the game.
It was a strong day at the field all around for the Beavers from our pitching to hitting to fielding. The softball gods were on our side today. The final score of the second game was 8-0.
After returning to the hotel to shower off, we headed out to get some grub. The girls all enjoyed burgers and had a relaxing last night in Florida. A few girls and my mother, who came to watch, went out to play mini golf. We went down to Gators & Golf where we met a man named Safari Todd. Summer Monsrud got her picture taken with a baby gator on her head. Don’t worry the mouth was taped shut. Safari Todd told us the gator’s mouth wasn’t taped shut for safety but was taped because it was a woman and he knows women love to talk (he warned us he had extra tape). After Monsrud suffered major defeat on the rage (losing by one stroke), we went out for some frozen yogurt and called it a night.
We have two last games tomorrow and then make the trek back to Bemidji.
Day 8 - Sunday, March 18-19, 2013
Today was the last day we would wake up to sunshine and palm trees with two games left between us and the flight back to Minnesota.
In the first game, we faced DuPage Community College in another exhibition game. Kelsey Saralampi started on the mound for the Beavers and held them scoreless for most of the game. Keeping DuPage to only one run, Saralampi also racked up two strikeouts. The nine runs from the Beavers were produced all through the line up with once again. Molly Arola had another homerun, crushing the ball over the right field fence.
Allie Duellman took another start in the second game. Duellman was at the top of her game—everything she was throwing had Tompkins Cortland confused. Tompkins Cortland, from upstate New York, was held scoreless by Duellman. Duellman also had an astonishing 11 strikeouts, striking out every batter in the line up at least once and holding them to only three hits. The Beavers had six runs scored through out the game. Three runs came after Lyndsey Peterson muscled a ball over the fence for a homerun.
Getting those last two wins in Florida felt great. Including exhibitions, BSU went 7-6 on the spring break adventure and ended on a 5 game win streak. The Beavers only allowed two runs to score in the past five games.
There was still long journey ahead of us, however.
We hustled back to the hotel where coach had held two rooms for 16 girls to shower in 80 minutes. We all managed to get clean and get everything packed up and we headed to the airport. Airport security was a little slow that night. There was a long line and Summer Monsrud was getting a little impatient. Finally getting through the gates, we headed to our terminal. We had a couple hours to kill before the flight, so a few girls attempted to study. Due to the weather in Minneapolis, our flight was delayed an extra hour—this didn’t make us too happy. Even with the delay we were able to board early and make a safe departure from Orlando around 9:00.
The flight was a little bumpy due to the weather and made it hard to sleep. After three hours in the air we arrived in Minneapolis at 11:45 p.m. We made our way to baggage claim and grabbed our luggage. Finally, we see the Bemidji Bus. I, for one, was glad to be on the ground again. Now all we had was an easy four-hour trip back to Bemidji. Easier said then done with these weather conditions, but we made a safe return to the frozen tundra around 5a.m.
Overall, we had a great experience down in Florida. We enjoyed a lot of laughs, sun, games, and I even came home with some bruises. The Beavers are looking forward to a great season this year and to our seven conference wins. After seven wins in the NSIC our coach has agreed to let us color his hair bleach blonde. Come cheer us on at our home opener April 6 at 1 p.m. versus Wayne State.