March 6, 2014
THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University softball team kicks off their 2014 campaign with 12-game schedule in the Snowbird Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Trojans will be playing at Pepper Gettings Softball Complex from March 9 through March 16.
SNOWBIRD INVITATIONAL: DSU will be playing a total of 11 different opponents in the Snowbird Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.D. The Trojans open their 2014 season as they play a pair of games versus Penn State-Harrisburg and Johnson & Wales (R.I.) on March 9. Dakota State will face Bridgewater (Va.), Delaware Valley, Penn College of Technology, Gordon (Mass.), Ursinus (Pa.), McKendree (Ill.), St. Joe's-Long Island (N.Y.) and Bemidji State (Minn.). The Trojans conclude their 12-game schedule with a doubleheader versus Philadelphia (Pa.) on March 15.
WEATHER FORECAST IN MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.: According to the weather.com website, the weather forecast in Myrtle Beach, S.C. calls for dry conditions with the high temperatures in the 60's from March 8 through March 11. The weather forecast predicts a few showers on March 11 (64 degrees high forecast temperature) and March 12 (49 degrees for a high forecast temperature). March 14 and March 15 call for dry conditions with a high temperatures in the 50's.
2013 SEASON REVIEW: Dakota State finished their 2013 season with an overall record of 16-18, including a postseason appearance in the Unaffiliated Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.)/Frontier conference tournament. The Trojans landed four selections to the All-Conference team—Brittany Hill, Elizabeth Rubalcava, Audrey Lorenz and Samantha Deen. Hill was selected to the A.I.I./Frontier Player-of-the-Year honor as she produced an impressive .500 batting average, a new DSU school record for best batting average in a single season. Three Trojans—Hill, Lorenz and Rubalcava—were named to 2013 NFCA NAIA West All-Region Team.
2014 SCHEDULE OVERVIEW: The Trojans will play their first 12 games in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and then return home to kick-off their eight-game road stretch—all games in March. Dakota State is schedule to start their 22-game home stand at Thue Softball Complex on April 3 with a doubleheader versus Briar Cliff (Iowa). The Trojans play their first-ever North Star Athletic Association conference games with a four-game series versus Mayville State (N.D.) on April 5-6. DSU will play for a total of 16 games in the North Star this season. The NSAA/Frontier Softball Postseason Conference Tournament, which features the top six teams in the double elimination tournament conference tournament format, takes place in Jamestown, N.D. on May 2-5. The conference's tournament winner will earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round on May 12-14.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: DSU have 20 athletes on their 2014 softball roster this year. The Trojans have four seniors listed on the roster this season—Lori Harshbarger, Chelsey John, Audrey Lorenz and Katie Slibowski. Dakota State also have four juniors, four sophomores and eight freshman on their roster. The Trojans are coached by eighth-year head coach Ken Prorok, who already surpassed 100 victories at Dakota State last season. Rachel Fricke is in her first season as the Trojan Softball assistant coach.
NSAA SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL: Dakota State was tabbed to finish third in the inaugural North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Softball Coaches' Preseason poll. The NSAA preseason softball poll was voted by the league coaches. Jamestown (N.D.) was picked as the league favorite to win the title with four first-place votes and tallied 24 points. The Trojans earned the final first-place vote with 15 points to finish third in the coaches' poll. Valley City State (N.D.) finished second with 17 points. Presentation (S.D.) is at No. 4 spot with 12 points and Mayville State (N.D.) is fifth with 7 points.
TROJANS LAND SIX SELECTIONS ON NSAA PRESEASON TEAM: The Trojans had landed six selections to the inaugural North Star Athletic Association Preseason All-Conference Team. Brittany Hill (1st base), Kelli Heiser (3rd base), Elizabeth Rubalcava (catcher), Katie Slibowski (utility), Audrey Lorenz (outfielder) and Erica Belter (outfielder) were named to NSAA Softball Preseason All-Conference team.
HILL NAMED TO 2014 NSAA PRESEASON PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR: The North Star Athletic Association has selected Brittany Hill of Dakota State as its Softball Preseason Player-of-the-Year award. She enters her junior season after being named to the A.I.I./Frontier Player-of-the-Year (in 2013) and is a two-time All-Conference selection. Hill produced 59 hits, 13 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and drove in 39 runs in 2013. She was third in the nation in batting average (.500), fourth in hits per game (1.7) and 17th in doubles per game (0.4) in 2013.
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: The North Star/Frontier released its preseason weekly rankings last January. Dickinson State (N.D.) is the No. 1 team in the region rankings, followed by Great Falls at No. 2 and Jamestown (N.D.0 at No. 3. Dakota State (S.D.) is tied for fourth place.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State softball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
UP NEXT: After their 12 scheduled games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dakota State continues their action on the road on March 18. The Trojans visit Briar Cliff (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa. DSU continues their action on the road, facing another GPAC opponent on March 22. The Trojans visit Dordt (Iowa) with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director