Majettes’ Barnum, Galloway honing softball skills with ND Elite

Ryan Ladika/MDN Kirsten Galloway (left) and Abby Barnum pose before taking batting practice in Minot ahead of the first weekend of ND Elite’s fall season.

For a pair of Minot High School softball players, invaluable college-level playing experience will be attainable even before the ink dries on their respective National Letters of Intent.

Majettes senior catcher Abby Barnum and junior pitcher Kirsten Galloway recently made official their plans to join the ND Elite 18U softball squad, a summer and fall travel-ball team under the umbrella of a program that also serves the 14U and 16U age groups.

The team, which began play the weekend of Sept. 18-19, does not play any games within the borders of Minot; rather, Barnum and Galloway will be exposed to unfamiliar and higher-level opponents in cities such as Bottineau, Jamestown and Wahpeton, and even outside of the state in Glendive, Montana, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Tucson, Arizona through the season’s end in mid-November.

The two girls were informed of the opportunity by Majettes volunteer assistant coach Thor Nelson, and both leapt at the opportunity to continue to hone their skills on the diamond before the commencement of the spring 2022 season, the last one of Barnum’s high school career.

“It’s a great opportunity for them, because they’re going to play in college at some point,” Nelson said. “For them to get to go play college kids right now is a big bonus for them to get to a different level, and the speed of the game picks up. It won’t be an issue for these two.”

For Barnum and Galloway, the chance for more playing time against heightened competition is one they did not realize existed before the two made their respective ways to the Magic City from their home states.

Barnum moved from Missouri up to North Dakota with her family when she was just 13 years old for her father, Mark, who serves in the military. Galloway is also a native of another state, Colorado, and relocated to Garrison, North Dakota in 2014 before eventually landing in Minot in 2019.

“Honestly I didn’t know that they did that up here,” Barnum said. “I was very excited to see that there was an opportunity to do that. In Missouri, the season’s actually in fall.”

“I’ve never played fall ball,” Galloway added. “I used to live in Colorado and they have softball 24/7, and now realizing that we can actually play more than just in summer and high school ball is really nice. I was really excited to learn that we were going to play other college teams too, and get new exposure and get better as we’re going.”

The pair will compete with a few familiar faces over the next couple of months from their time in the high school circuit, including Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood’s Ginger Savelkoul and Bismarck High’s Logan Gronberg. The participants will then have the chance to play against collegiate competition and under the watchful eyes of college-level softball coaches.

“I’m hoping to learn some things that I need to work on to advance my skills to be able to go up to the next level, whether that be Division I, II or III,” Barnum said. “I just want to continue my career. I’m hoping it helps, and I’ll get feedback from college coaches.”

The two upperclassmen have already begun their search for the collegiate program that best fits their post-high school needs and desires pertaining to their education and career-path, and both are hoping to lock in their plans to attend a school closer to home.

Barnum is planning on going into psychology following her high school graduation next spring, and Galloway wants to study occupational therapy and help others with disabilities.

With the fall slate already underway, the two could not be more thrilled to take advantage of yet another opportunity to continue playing the game they love while setting themselves up for even greater success in their future playing careers.


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