Anderson helping Vikings reach new heights
Valley City State University softball senior Kadie Anderson followed up a grand slam with a rather dubious 0-for-11 at the plate last weekend in Aberdeen, S.D.
But that's hitting. The Vikings (24-1) cruised to four victories over Dakota State inside Presentation College's winter dome, pushing Valley City State's current winning streak to nine games.
"I don't know? I just couldn't get it done," laughed Anderson, a .266/.337/.375 lifetime hitter for the Vikings. "I hit a couple hard shots right at people, but I got one when we needed it."
VCSU softball and Anderson, a former Jamestown High School standout, are in the midst of a special season. The program cracked the top 10 in the NAIA top 25 coaches' poll for the first time Tuesday, March 26, moving up from No. 11 to No. 9 in the national ranking.
The Vikings are currently third in the NAIA in making hitters miss (200 strikeouts), fourth in team fielding percentage (.972), eighth in team ERA (1.49) and 12th in team batting average (.361). Anderson has made the transition to first base this spring, where she's recorded 125 putouts and four assists to just one error (.992).
"It's just a really good team we've got going here," Anderson said. "With our pitchers, we all kinda know what to expect. Every time a ball is hit anywhere into the field, I know our fielders are going to make a play on it."
Anderson has spent time at second base and all three outfield positions, primarily left, in her Vikings tenure. Her move to a corner infield spot this season was the result of the 2018 graduation of all-conference first baseman Kelli Moore.
Anderson has started 23 of VCSU's first 25 games at first. Moore slashed .432/.476/.652 last spring for the 39-12 Vikings, to go along with a .983 fielding percentage.
"I got a chance to take some reps behind (Moore) last year, but it's definitely been an interesting transition," Anderson said. "It's a little different than anywhere I've ever played, but I like it a lot."
Anderson helped lead JHS to its first Class A state softball tournament appearance in 2015 as a senior. The former No. 1 pitcher for the Blue Jays hit .359 with 12 doubles that season.
Anderson has clubbed three homers and has driven in 16 runs so far this spring. A 6-1 loss to Concordia (Neb.) on March 8 in Tucson, Ariz. has been the team's only blemish.
The Vikings' Emily Smith has been dominant in the pitching circle. The junior has put together a record of 15-1 with 129 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.10.
Smith is also second on the team in batting average (.433), joining teammates Joelle Aiello (.447) and Jayme Menard (.415) at north of .400 at the dish.
"We do all like to have fun together, but we also know that we're only having success because we're getting the job done in practice," Anderson said. "Don't ever take a day easy."
The Vikings host Dickinson State this Sunday and Monday beginning at 1 p.m. both days on the football turf at VCSU.