MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - New Ulm Cathedral softball has earned their spot in the state tournament.
The Greyhounds dominated in the section tournament this past week to keep their season alive.
In a close contest last Thursday night New Ulm Cathedral topped Mountain Lake Area Comfrey 2–0 in the Section 2–A Championship game.
“Feeling pretty good, I’m not going to lie, it’s an unbelievable feeling to get back to state and to pitch to state, I’ve got a great defense behind me and I’ve got a great offense too so, unbelievable feeling,” Josie Pautzke, New Ulm Cathedral senior, said.
“On top of the world, I can’t believe this team, I just love this team so much, we fought through so much adversity and we came out on top but we still have a lot of work to do,” Emily Schommer, New Ulm Cathedral freshman, said.
The squad credits a great deal of their success to the upperclassman's influence on the rest of the team.
“Our senior leaders really had to step up this year, and we talked about that at the beginning of the year and they’ve done that role all season and then our underclassman really had to step into their roles and mature and that’s been a process throughout the whole year but it came through today,” Jamie Portner, New Ulm Cathedral head coach, said.
“The seniors are on the, we call them munchkins, the people on the bench to be loud, get loud in the dugout, cheer so it takes a lot of leadership and I believe that our team definitely has a ton of leadership on there,” Pautzke said.
Former prep athlete of the week, Josie Pautzke leads by example with her dominance in the circle.
“I like to keep my mind empty in the circle, it’s one pitch at a time, every next pitch, it’s always the next play, you throw a ball, have to get the next one in there, have to hit that corner so just keeping that mindset where I’m going to get the next one and no one’s going to stop me,” Pautzke said.
“You can’t ask for anything more from a pitcher, she scattered four hits across seven innings, I mean you can’t ask for anything more from her and she came through with the big hit that ended up helping us score a run too,” Portner said.
“Josie and I started working together in early December, every week we’d pitch, catch, all that stuff and then multiple times during the season, so many after practices, so many before practices, so many talks, it just takes a ton of dedication. We’ve bonded like that, like right away I think I just trust her so much, I trust that she’s going to hit her spots and I know even if she misses, I’ll get it and she knows that if I miss it, I’ll get her, we just have confidence in each other. I trust her and she trusts me and my mindset for behind the plate is that nothing gets past me,” Schommer said.
After this exciting win the team is ready for another, they are concentrating on what they need to do to be successful in the state tournament.
“Focus, focus on our hitting, focus on defense, we focused a lot on defense yesterday, we were hitting, taking ground balls all the time. We’re going to have to keep continuing to do that and have high energy practices to that we can play like we did today,” Pautzke said.
“I think we need to work on hitting, we had a couple bloop hits today and that will win you some games but it won’t win you all of them so we need to have some tougher hitting and then keep our defense rolling because we’re playing good defense right now,” Portner said.
“Definitely going to take practices really seriously, going into it with a mindset that we still have a lot of work to do. State tournament, everybody is amazing there so we need to step up our game and come on top,” Schommer said.
The Greyhounds will showcase their hard work this coming Thursday in the state tournament at Caswell Park.