SIU Softball Gets Ready for Action During Fall Preseason


Jared Treece | @bisalo

SIU catcher Sidney Sikes, left, does a special handshake with pitcher Madi Eberle during the 3-2 win against Murray State that went in extra innings on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 at the Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois.

The SIU softball team will play in their annual preseason this fall, with the Salukis playing multiple games from late September to early October. The Salukis have already played three of their eight preseason games. 

The Salukis had a successful season last year, when they went 37-16 and managed to come away with the Missouri Valley Conference championship. They made it to the NCAA tournament, but lost to Arizona State and Brigham Young. 

The women felt they had a great season last year, and want to build off of that. Softball infielder Jenna Christeson said the team worked hard the whole season.


“I mean we were 37-16 […] but I think every team would say they want more wins, and as a team we can say we lost some games that should have had a different outcome,” Christeson said. 

However, the team had to push through many difficulties. Because of COVID-19, the team had restrictions it had to abide by, or else be disqualified. 

The Salukis said they are happy to be back in action after last year’s confusing season. 

“Covid definitely hit our team more mentally than it did physically […] it came with so many challenges,” Christeson said, “We all had to sort of stay in our own bubble with the people we lived with, which made it hard to go out and mingle […] There weren’t a lot of team dinners, or team events, just because it wasn’t allowed yet.” 

Senior infielder Ashley Wood said she is excited for this season. Restrictions have lightened up, and it’s helped the players make much better connections than just on the field. 

“Now we can have team dinners, we can do team activities, and we can go over to each others’ houses,” Wood said “It’s nice because then you get to know them off the field and not strictly get to know them in the softball setting. That’s really gonna play a huge factor in getting the team chemistry back much quicker.” 

Because of the cut-back on COVID-19 restrictions, it’s been easier to make connections with the freshmen on the team. Which has helped the team’s chemistry as a whole. 


The preseason is the perfect time to build that chemistry, when the games don’t matter as much, but the team is trying to prove itself. Wood said the Salukis have already felt the effects of this improved connection.

“We’ve been able to play around with the lineups a lot more and see who needs to go where. We’ve just been able to see what people can do so that we can improve in the spring, ” Wood said.

Senior catcher/infielder Sidney Sikes said the freshmen have been making quite an impression. 

“Those little things that freshmen have come in and shown us, it really helps jumpstart our program. We have some freshmen who haven’t even played yet but I’m really excited to see what they can do,” Sikes said. 

Sikes said the team made improvements during the off season and players are looking forward to showcasing their skills in the preseason exhibitions.

“This year we really wanna stay strong and stay focused on our hitting mentality. We wanna score as many runs as we can in every inning, and that’s definitely going to be our goal this year,” Sikes said. 

Wood said the team has focused on being very sound defensively and being steadier with their hitting this off-season. The players hope these upcoming games will give them the practice they need.

“We’re very consistent with our defense, but what we want to be more consistent with is our hitting. It’s like that for a lot of teams where our hitting is on and off throughout the year […] we have to find a way to pick each other up if we’re not playing as well,” Wood said. 

The Salukis play their 4th game of the preseason on Oct. 3rd. The game will be played in Carbondale at Charlotte West Stadium against Jefferson College at 12 p.m. 

Sports Reporter Cole Daily can be reached at [email protected]

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