Beavers softball picked seventh in NSIC

Odlum, Valentine named Players to Watch

Ryan Ladika/MDN Trinity Valentine struck out 127 hitters in 135 2/3 innings for Minot State during the 2021 spring season.

Minot State first baseman Jamie Odlum and pitcher Trinity Valentine were league-leaders for the Beavers last spring and have been tabbed as Players to Watch by the NSIC, which announced its 2022 Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Preseason Players of the Year Wednesday.

Odlum and Valentine led the way for a Minot State team that also was picked to finish seventh in the league standings by the coaches, earning 135 points in the Coaches’ Poll.

Odlum, a senior infielder from Morden, Manitoba, led the Beavers in batting average (.423), total hits (55) and runs scored (40) as she earned Second Team All-NSIC honors. Her robust batting average also landed her third overall in the league.

Valentine, a right-handed pitcher from Las Vegas, Nev., pitched half of the innings last spring for the Beavers, racking up 135 2/3 frames in the circle. While pacing the team in innings, she also led the way with 13 wins and 127 strikeouts, good for sixth in the NSIC in victories and 10th in punchouts.

They lead the way for a Beavers team that opens the 2022 season at home hosting the first of two Bubble Invitational tournaments in the air-supported dome on the Minot State campus. Minot State opens the season Friday, Feb. 4, hosting in-state and league rival the University of Mary at 5 p.m., then plays fellow in-state foe Valley City State on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. The Beavers continue play in their season-opening tournament hosting Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m., then wrap up the weekend against another NSIC rival in Minnesota Crookston on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m.

As for the top pick in the 2022 NSIC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Augustana, which advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 last spring, was a heavy favorite to repeat as NSIC champion with 225 points and 15 first-place votes in the poll. Minnesota State, Mankato, was picked to finish second with 209 points and one first-place vote.

Augustana’s Mary Pardo, a senior outfielder, was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year, while Minnesota State senior right-handed pitcher Mackenzie Ward was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Pardo hit .330 with 20 home runs last spring, which was third-most in the nation. She was named a Second Team D2CCA and Third Team NFCA All-American. Ward, who was 24-5 with a 0.90 ERA for the Mavericks in 2021, was a First Team D2CCA and NFCA All-American.


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