Pitching to a state title

Andrysiak caps senior season in style with Majettes softball

Ashton Gerard/MDN MHS senior pitcher Marisa Andrysiak delivers a pitch during a high school softball game earlier this season at the South Hill Softball Complex.

A deep breath and a nod of acknowledgement to the batter at hand, the wind up and the release. The throw was just close enough to the outside to keep the batter looking.

“Strike!” the home plate umpire called.

The Minot High School softball team erupted, as they had just won the state title for the first time in school history. Senior pitcher Marisa Andrysiak leapt into the embrace of her teammates after securing the final out and securing their place in history.

This was Andrysiak’s curtain call with the Majettes.

The origin story

Ashton Gerard/MDN Majettes senior Marisa Andrysiak hits an RBI single during a high school softball game earlier this season in Minot.

Andrysiak was born into a softball family. Her five older sisters played softball and her father coached, so it was only natural that Andrysiak and her younger sister joined in. Softball was the family’s culture.

Andrysiak wasn’t always a pitcher. While growing up, she took to the circle one year when the team she was on needed a pitcher. Her father tossed her a ball and just said, “Try.”

“The first pitch I threw was a strike so he goes, ‘Okay, we’ll work with that,’ and that’s just kind of how it began, honestly,” Andrysiak laughed.

The pitcher’s journey in Minot started her freshman year of high school when her family moved to the area from South Bend, Indiana.

“Right away, she established herself as a pitcher and also an everyday player,” Majettes head coach Gerard Cederstrom recalled. “She came in and stepped right up as a freshman.”

Andrysiak pitched a handful of games as a freshman, was the No. 2 pitcher as a sophomore and by her junior year she was the team’s go-to ace.

A pair of siblings were closely watching her progression. Both her older sister Hannah and her younger sister Jenna played for the Majettes when Marisa was a sophomore.

“It was just a lot of good chemistry between us and we would have fun and just mess around with each other,” she said. “If one of us had a bad game, we’d give each other a hard time and stuff, but we knew we were just kidding.”

Andrysiak said being able to play with siblings, especially two, at the high school level is highly unlikely and she was glad they were able to share that experience.

Off the field, Thor Nelson with the Minot Storm Fastpitch organization and a supporter of Minot High softball said Andrysiak is a very happy-go-lucky person. But, as soon as she steps on the field, she turns into a fierce competitor.

“She’s a gamer,” Nelson said. “There’s no one else you’d want on the mound. When the game is on the line, she’s at her best.”

Nelson said the thing that sets her apart is her drive to win.

“She’s one of those athletes where, when it comes to the big games, they just show up and take over,” he said.

Everyone knew that Andrysiak was going to be in the circle if Minot High was going to go all the way at state. That was her role and she pitched all 21 innings in her final high school tournament for the Majettes.

“I think the results speak for themselves,” Nelson said.

Her grit and resiliency also stood out.

“She doesn’t let things bother her very often and she just goes and says, ‘What’s the next pitch coach? Where do you want it?'” Cederstrom said. “She trusts her teammates and she trusted me to call the pitches.”

The ultimate ending

The Majettes felt overlooked coming into the state tournament. They were the No. 4-seeded out of the West Region, so the team didn’t get a lot of attention until they upset East Region No. 1-seeded Valley City in the first round.

“It proved everybody wrong since we were the four seed,” Andrysiak said. “It doesn’t really matter where you’re at. It depends on how you play.”

Going into the championship game against Dickinson, a team they hadn’t beaten during the regular season (0-4), the team had a mindset that they just needed to work hard, put in the effort and that the state title would be waiting for them on the other side.

“We came back and beat them when it counted,” Andrysiak said.

At the end of the day, Cederstrom said his group of girls wouldn’t accept no for an answer. And, when it came down to the wire, Andrysiak was there to deliver.

“She just worked her butt off and she got us a state title,” Cederstrom said.

With her senior season in the books, Andrysiak holds the record for the most wins by a pitcher at Minot High and was pretty good with the bat as well, as she racked up the most hits in the program’s history as well.

Andrysiak ended the season with 26 hits, 16 doubles and a triple. She went 13-2 in the circle with just over 100 innings pitched, and accumulated 113 strikeouts and a 3.27 ERA.

After the final pitch

The now-graduated senior pitcher has received an offer from a school in Kansas to play softball. But, before receiving the offer, her heart was set on going to Minot State to get a nursing degree.

“We’ll see,” Andrysiak said. “We’ll talk to the coach more and see about it.”

Whether softball is in Andrysiak’s foreseeable future or not, Cederstrom wishes her well in whatever she decides to tackle next.

“We’ll be talking about her for a while,” he said. “People will be shooting for her records.”

Sports Spotlight is a weekly feature profiling interesting people affiliated with sports in the region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Email the sports department at sports@minot