Head coach: Kelly Jo Closser, first year (7 years as Program Director for Titans Fastpitch Association)

Assistant coaches: Gary Novak, first year, Eric Closser, first year, Lexi Franek, first year (Combined 20 years Association/Club Softball Program Coaching)

Key Players

Brooke Blaschko – Senior (catcher, SS) Returning 2019 Varsity Letter Winner and All-Conference recipient. “We are really looking for Brooke to step in for us this season at the catcher position leading our team on the field,” Closser said. “She is already a solid hitter and is fantastic on the bases for us.”

Molly Closser – Junior (3rd, pitcher, SS) “We expect Molly to be a consistent performer for us this season” coach Closser said. “She is a talented player both defensively and offensively that plays the game year round. We will use her toward the top of our lineup and are counting on her to be the leader in our defensive game. She will also see time on the mound this season.”

Isabelle Factor – Senior (Utility) “Isabelle is a returning 2019 varsity letter winner, and we are looking for her to win a starting position,” Closser said. “She’s a great athlete that can do some nice things in the field and has the speed for great base running.”

Ellaina Novak – Junior (Pitcher, 1st, Utility) “Ellaina is a returning 2019 varsity letter winner and will start most of our innings on the mound this season,” Closser said. “She starts with the most varsity experience on our team and is one of our strongest hitters and also plays year round. I expect her to contribute huge success for us this season both offensively and defensively.”

Rachel Rynda – Senior (OF, Utility) “Rachel is another returning 2019 varsity letter winner. “She is very strong athlete for us with a lot of versatility,” Closser said. “We will look for her to play a variety of positions throughout the year.”

Keep Your Eye On

Nikaija Young – Senior (IF) “Nikaija has really been working really hard in the off season for us and it shows,” Closser said. “She has a strong arm and her bat will be a solid start for us throughout the year.”

Savannah Squires – Junior (OF, Utility) “Savanah is player that can play almost anywhere on the diamond,” Closser said. “She is a very smart player and one of our toughest competitors.”

Moved On

Ellie Singleton

Sydney Sartori

Keilee Westlie

Lillian Barnes

Cohl Paggen

2019 Recap

TCU varsity softball completed its most successful season in 2019 with an overall record of 14-8 and was seeded No. 3 in section play.

2020 Pandemic Cancelled Season

“Being involved in the Titans program for years I watched these girls grow up, I saw the 2020 season cancellation take a real toll on them,” said Closser. “Overcoming such a heartbreaking setback though, I did see a majority of these players get out and play over the summer, fall and winter leagues. I will say that it also created a new passion to come back stronger for the 2021 season.”

2021 Season Outlook

“I expect us to compete in every game we play this year,” said Closser. “We have a strong and dedicated group of players here that have been involved with the program and softball for years. We are hoping that their experience can finally ‘pay itself forward’ this season.”

“We will need to play excellent defense this season to be successful. Gone are the days were we rely on Elly Novak to get us 15 plus strikeouts per game,” said Closser. “We also play in a very strong Minnesota River Conference against teams like Le Sueur and Norwood that typically are in the running to win the Conference title, so we will have to bring our best game every night.”

“Practice has gone great so far, the team’s energy, enthusiasm and hunger to win has been exceeding my expectations coming into this first week,” Closster added. “If we can keep improving all year long, and keep our 110% ‘want,’ this should be a great season.”

Coach’s Comments

“We are focusing on the ‘controllables’ this year with the girls. With the way the last year has gone, we will be focusing on what is within their control, which the main ones are attitude and effort. We can’t control what is going to happen with school, games, the season, or umpire calls, but we can control our attitude and effort in everything we do. If we go out at 110% attitude and effort, we will naturally be successful in all things.” — Kelly Jo Closser, varsity head coach

By The Numbers

26 — Total players

6 — Seniors

7 — Juniors

6 — Sophomores

6 — Freshmen

1 — Eighth Grader

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8575. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.

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