Missouri State’s softball Bears finished the 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 26-17.
After not being able to play the previous season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bears were ready to hit the field again, but not without some delays.
The Bears were not able to hit the field until Feb. 21 at the Alex Wilcox Memorial Tournament after their previous tournament in Lafayette, Louisiana, was canceled due to inclement weather.
After not playing in nearly a year, the Bears did not miss a beat and started out the season 3-0. The Bears played well in games against teams in the MVC and finished with a 16-6 record.
The Bears competed in the MVC Softball Championship tournament but fell short in the semifinals against the No. 2 ranked Northern Iowa Panthers.
“I’m so proud of the effort and togetherness we showed these past two days during the biggest challenge of the year,” head coach Holly Hesse in a Missouri State press release. “I couldn’t be prouder of the year and the tournament we had.”
Senior pitcher and first baseman Madison Hunsaker and sophomore third baseman Olivia Krehbiel earned Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete honors. This marks Hunsaker’s first MVC Scholar-Athlete honor. Hunsaker played in all 43 games for the Bears this season and started 42 of them. This is one of the many accolades Hunsaker received during this season after receiving an MVC player of the week award and a pitcher of the week award.
The Bears had no graduating seniors this year, so there is a high chance for all players to return next season.
Missouri State finished in the top three of the MVC for the second time in the past three seasons.
Hesse, the second-winningest coach in Missouri Valley conference history with 844 career victories, will return to Missouri State in her 34th season.
Missouri State will host the Missouri Valley Conference softball championship tournament for the first time since 2011 on May 11-14 at Killian Stadium in Springfield.
Follow Nicole Walker on Twitter, @NicoleDanaeWal1
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