May 22, 2019 11:29 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The Rochester Lourdes softball program is a regular season powerhouse and has been for many years.
The Eagles closed the 2019 regular season with a 17-2 record and on a five-game win streak.
There are many parts that make up a successful team, but Head Coach Becky Macken said a lot of it comes from her players high softball I.Q. and the nearby collegiate teams that are a source of inspiration.
"I think with the success of the U, and our Division II and our Division III success schools here in town, the kids kind of feed off that," Macken said. "Also, our youth organizations, Rochester Youth Fastpitch Softball Association has grown and provided a lot of opportunities for the girls, I would say in the last 10 years, we've really developed a lot of players in southeastern Minnesota. So I think that's why you have such a strong section. Our section is crazy."
But every journey to greatness also comes with some bumps in the road.The Lourdes softball program has never been to the state tournament and the last two season, they've come close in the section title game, but came up short
"Softball is a game of failure," Macken said. "You fail a lot at it but it's how you react to that failure that I think breeds success."
While they have come up short, the players said it's been motivation to make sure this year is different.
One of the key players making that happen is Katie Virgin, a four-year varsity player, who plays year-round which helps her be at the top of her game.
Macken said Katie isn't the type of player who gets excited or nervous, she just goes out on the field and does her thing.
"She's very stoic, doesn't say much, but she's a great leader, she leads on the field," Macken explained about one of her team's top players. "She's very unselfish by taking walks, she's a big hard hitter, and she's got a big stick, great glove at first base. She's the epitome of a Lourdes athlete."
Katie entered the section tournament hitting over 0.500, with 33 RBI's, and 18 walks. Even with this incredible season on her resume, she still credits her team.
"One thing, I think our team is really strongest is our top two runners, Margaret and Alyssa, at the beginning of the lineup, do a really good job of getting on so our power hitters get more opportunities to get RBIs and put us into good situations to be successful," Katie said.
It's been another impressive season for the Eagles, but Katie knows there something different about this year's squad.
"So far, I think this season is different from the past two seasons in that we've been very team oriented," Katie explained. "We've been having a lot of bounding, more practices, and we wanted to make sure everybody is doing their own job and together we can come together for the win."
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"I think the bond that our team has this year is unique from other teams in the past," Katie said.
It didn't take long for the team's other senior captains to chime in with their thoughts on why this team has achieved this level of success this season.
"We have a lot of experience; we've been playing together for quite a while," Ashley Krom added. Then, Margaret Rogers followed with a perfect description of how long some of the girls have known each other.
"Since we were little nuggets," Rogers said while chuckling. "We've grown up together and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses."
Created: May 22, 2019 11:29 PM
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