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The Antelope

First game of Loper softball season a success

Kaitlyn Johnson looks to get a hit against Garden City CC. Photo by Kosuke Yoshii


New season, new coach, new power: Head coach Katie Ackermann brings a breath of fresh air to UNK’s softball team. The Lopers played their first preseason games on Sunday against Garden City Community College at Dryden Park.

“The transition was a little difficult but the girls have bought in quickly and I think that we are on to a really good start,” said Katie Ackermann, UNK women’s softball coach. 

Ackermann inherits a program that has not had a winning season since 2012. The Lopers are still seeking its first-ever MIAA tournament bid.

A new head coach has been a significant change for the team, but they have expressed their acceptance of the new commitment.

“I love her,” junior pitcher Sarah Handrahan said. “I think the whole team loves her. She is super engaged in our team and practices and it’s been a really great transition.”

The Lopers played with lots of energy against the Broncbusters. Pitching was solid and UNK hitters came up with clutch hits with runners in scoring position. They came out as the aggressor.

“I am really satisfied,” Handrahan said. “Having a new coach come in can be hard but I feel like we all pulled together as a team and got it done. We have to work on our communication and get used to playing together again. I think that is our biggest thing.”

Ackermann is impressed with how the team played in their first fall scrimmage. She is confident about the upcoming season.

“Our pitching was great. With our hitting we attacked early, we attacked good pitches and we scored runs when we needed to score,” Ackermann said. “One thing that we need to work on is just mental mistakes but that will come.”

With more time spent on the field, Ackermann believes the team will be successful.

“We have a lot to build upon but I think we are in the right direction so it has been pretty good so far,” Ackermann said. “I am very satisfied and pleased.”

UNK’s next hosts Colby Community College at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Dryden Park. 

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