Augustana Softball Camps

Head Coach Gretta Melsted

One of the most successful and respected coaches in Division II softball, Gretta Melsted can now add National Champion to her resume. Coach Melsted enters her 14th season as the head softball coach at Augustana in 2020, and has now guided Augustana nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including six straight trips from 2010 to 2015.

Following more than a decade of building the Viking softball program, 2019 proved to a memorable year for coach Melsted and Augustana. After a strong regular season and NSIC Tournament title in May of 2019, coach Melsted led the Vikings to a 10-2 record in the NCAA postseason. Augustana knocked off No. 2 Winona State in regionals and No. 1 Central Oklahoma in super regionals, both on the road, to reach the program's fifth NCAA Division II Softball Championship. With a pair of 6-4 wins over Texas A&M Kingsville in the championship series, the Vikings secured the programs second-ever national championship (1991).

As a result of the historic season, coach Melsted, along with Kelsey Thompson and Nat Wagner, were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Central Region and DII National Staff of the Year. It's the first national honor in the career for all three coaches.

On paper, the Vikings 2019 season established new records in nearly evert major category. Augustana tied the school-record with 61 wins while also establishing new marks for runs (491), hits (699), doubles (129), HR (94), RBI (458), total bases (1155), stolen bases (131), and slugging percentage (.576). The Viking pitching staff was equally impressive, finishing top-10 in numerous single-season categories including wins (61), innings pitching (464.0), strikeouts (417), and opponent batting average (.197).

In Oct. 2018, Melsted was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Board of Directors, where she will officially begin their three-year tenure in January of 2019.

2018 was also banner year for Augustana softball as the Vikings earned a trip to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in nine season. The Vikings finished the year 42-15, marking the fourth time in five years they have surpassed 40 wins.

Last season, Melsted helped five Vikings earn NSIC honors, including Ashley Mickschl who was named the 2018 Freshman of the Year.

Melsted now enters the 2019 season with a career record of 548-301(.646), including 467-205 (.694) in 12 seasons at Augustana.

After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 in 2016, Melsted returned to the tournament in 2017 and led her team to the Central Super Region 2 Tournament title game. The Vikings finished 40-16 in 2017, including 21-5 in NSIC play which was good for a third-place finish in the final league standings.

For the second time in three years, Melsted guided a student-athlete to national prominence. Sarah Kennedy was named a Top 10 Finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player of the Year Award for the second time in her career in 2017. Kennedy was named the Division II Conference Commissioners Association National Player of the Year, earning First Team All-America honors from D2CCA and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Kennedy was named NSIC Player of the Year for the second time in her career in 2017 after setting a single season record with a .505 batting average and hitting and NCAA Division II single season record 32 doubles. Kennedy concluded her career at Augustana ranked second all-time with a .438 batting average while also ranking second all-time in runs scored (221), doubles (77) and home runs (50).

Melsted entered the 2017 season with a brand new pitching staff and the transfer/freshman duo of Lexy Pederson and Olivia Wolters performed admirably helping the Vikings to postseason play. Pederson joined Augustana after playing one season at North Iowa Area Community College and went on to earn All-NSIC Second Team and NSIC Newcomer of the Year honors. Pederson posted a record of 20-6 in 34 appearances whole striking out 105 batters and holding opponents to a .241 batting average.

Wolters made a team-high 38 appearances as a freshman in 2017 and finished the year with a record of 18-9. She tossed 15 complete games and two shutouts while striking out a team-high 134 batters in 175 innings pitched.

Augustana finished 35-19 in 2016, including a 21-8 record in NSIC play. The Vikings carried the No. 4 seed into the NSIC Tournament and opened tournament play with a 10-2 win over Wayne State. Augustana then lost a pair of heartbreakers, falling 4-3 to Minnesota State and 5-3 to Minnesota Duluth, which eventually ended Augustana’s season.

Melsted guided five All-NSIC First Team selections in 2016. Maggie Kadrlik, Sarah Kennedy, Carly Peterson, Carley Pickett and Shannon Petersen were all first team all-conference selections. All five went on to earn All-Central Region honors from the D2CCA while Kadrlik, Peterson and Kennedy earned NFCA All-Central Region honors.

Kadrlik was eventually named to the D2CCA All-America team after leading the team in batting with a .412 average. She also led the NSIC with 17 home runs and hit 10 doubles while driving in a team-high 62 runs.

Melsted’s offense was one of the best in the NSIC and top-10 in the country in 2016. The Vikings led the NSIC and ranked 10th in the country with a team batting average of .338. The Vikings ranked second in the NSIC and 10th nationally with 60 home runs.

After what only Melsted could call a “slow start” to 2015 after going 3-2 at the season-opening tournament in February, the Vikings went on a steady climb into the postseason. The team went on to win 35 of its next 38 games, including a 21-game win streak, while taking a firm hold on the regular season conference title.

The Vikings were in the driver’s seat headed into the final weekend of the regular season and went 4-0 on the road to secure the third regular season NSIC championship in program history. Augustana has now won 12 conference titles in program history. Augustana finished 28-2 in conference play in 2015 and finished 53-11 overall, marking the ninth 50-plus win season in program history.

Melsted guided a trio of players to All-America honors in 2015, highlighted by NSIC and Central Region Pitcher of the Year Jenelle Trautmann and NSIC and Central Region Player of the Year Sarah Kennedy. Trautmann and Kennedy went on to earn All-America First Team honors from the NFCA and Daktronics. Caitlin Nichol was named to the NFCA All-America Second Team and the Daktronics All-America First Team.

Trautmann and Kennedy were both top 10 finalists for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II Player of the Year and Trautmann moved on and was honored as one of the top three finalists for the national player of the year award. Trautmann finished her career at Augustana as a four-time All-America selection and is just the second player in program history to earn All-America honors all four years of her career. She also made a run at the all-time NCAA Division II home run record finishing her career with 75 which ranks second all-time in Division II history and 12th across all divisions in NCAA softball history. Trautmann finished her career ranking first all-time at Augustana in home runs (75), RBI (237), walks (103), intentional walks (14), wins (104), games started (140) and batters struck out (807).

Sarah Kennedy set the single-season doubles record at Augustana in 2015, recording 25 and passing Jenny Hill’s record of 23 in 2000. Caitlin Nichol set the single-season home run record in 2015, drilling 23 round-trippers and finished her career in a Viking uniform with 37 home runs which ranks third all-time in Augustana history.

Melsted led the Vikings to the Central Region Championship series for the second straight season as the Vikings hosted the Central Region 1 Tournament and the Central Super Regional in 2015. 

The Vikings finished 46-15 in 2014, marking its seventh straight 30-win season, including its fourth season with 40 or more wins. Augustana continued another trend, qualifying for its fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Melsted led the Vikings to a 23-7 record in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, which was good for a third-place finish in the final league standings.

Augustana earned a trip to the championship game of the NSIC Tournament winning three straight games before dropping two straight to Winona State. The Vikings got their revenge after qualifying for their fifth straight NCAA Tournament, going to Winona State and defeating Missouri Western State 8-7 setting up a re-match with the Warriors on their home field. Augustana edged out Winona State 2-1 and would end up facing-off with the Warriors in a win-or-go-home game. Trailing 8-1 headed into the top of the sixth inning, Augustana scored eight runs in the final two innings, including a two-out three-run homerun in the top of the seventh to cap-off the big comeback and punch their ticket to the Central Super Regional which the Vikings hosted for the third time since 2011.

With a trip to the national championships on the line, Augustana came up short in two slugfests with Southeastern Oklahoma State at Bowden Field. In the first game of the three-game series, Augustana hit five home runs and scored 12 runs but was handed a one-run loss in the 13-12 game. Augustana and Southeastern slugged it out in the second game as well, combining for 20 hits and nine runs as the Vikings had a late comeback attempt fall short and Southeastern hung on for the 5-4 win.

For the second straight season, the career home run record was broken when Jenelle Trautmann became the all-time home run leader on April 18, 2014 in a doubleheader with Concordia-St. Paul. Trautmann set a single season record with 19 home runs last season, surpassing her own record of 18 which she hit in both her freshman and sophomore campaigns, and heads into her senior season as the all-time leader with 55 career home runs.

Carley Pickett became the second pitcher in just two seasons to lead the nation in saves in 2014. Pickett earned nine saves last season which led all of NCAA Division II and ranks second all-time in a single season behind Chelsey Durland who led the nation with 15 in 2012.

Trautmann was named to the NFCA All-Central Region team for the third straight season after batting .337 with 10 doubles, 19 home runs and 58 RBI while posting a 27-7 record in the circle while striking out 172 batters. Trautmann went on to earn NFCA All-America honors for the third straight season. Lindsay Spanton also earned all-region honors in 2014 after batting .366 with a team-high 16 doubles to go along with 12 home runs and 49 RBI.

Melsted led the Vikings to a 32-17 record in 2013 led by Theresa McMahon, who was a Daktronics All-America second-team choice. She was named to All-Central Region first teams by Daktronics and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.  In addition, “T-Mac” repeated as a first team All-NSIC choice. She capped her career with a.353 batting average in 2013 and ranks second all-time with 43 career home runs.

Sophomore pitcher Jenelle Trautmann joined her battery mate on the Daktronics All-America squad (third team) as well as Daktronics and NFCA All-Central Region first teams. Trautmann also repeated as a first team All-NSIC player. She was named the conference pitcher of the week twice and player of the week once. She batted .333 and for the second season belted 18 home runs.

True freshman Carly Peterson started 39 games and batted .359. She was named to the All-NSIC second team.

After splitting four games in the NSIC Tournament, the Vikings were awarded the sixth-seed in the Central Region Tournament. Augustana lost to No. 2 seed Southeastern Oklahoma, 4-3, and to No. 3 seed Minnesota State, 3-2.

In 2012, Melsted’s Vikings returned to the national championship tournament for the first time since 1998. Augustana lost to No. 3 Kutztown in the opening round and was eliminated by No. 1 and eventual national champion Valdosta State in extra innings.

Melsted was chosen Central Region Coach of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Her Vikings were ranked No. 5 in the final NFCA top 25 coaches’ poll for 2012.

Eight of her players received Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) post-season awards. Five were named to the NFCA All-Central Region team, and four to the Daktronics All-Central Region squad.

Trautmann was selected NSIC freshman of the year and a second team All-America. McMahon was chosen to the Capital One Academic All-America third team, marking the first Academic All-American for Augustana softball since 1998.

Augustana rolled to a 53-12 record in 2012, including a 22-4 showing in the NSIC. The 53 wins are the most since the Vikings went 58-12 in 2000.

Melsted directed NSIC title drives in 2010 and 2011, and her Vikings were runners-up in 2009 and 2012. In 2012, the Vikings flexed their power by leading the NSIC in batting average (.326), slugging percentage (.529), runs scored (394), hits (574), RBI (361), doubles (112), home runs (80), and total bases (930). The 80 home runs were also tops nationally.

The 2012 Vikings posted five consecutive wins on the way to claiming the Central 2 Region and Super Region championships. Melsted has taken the Vikings to the Super Region championship game in 2011 and 2012.

Augustana’s 51-11 record for 2011 included a No. 13 ranking in the NFCA top 25, a second consecutive league title and its first conference tournament championship. Seven players were named to the all-conference teams. Traci Fransen and Jenny Brown were recognized on All-America teams. Four members of the team received All-Central Region nods and Melsted was named NSIC coach of the year, an honor she has garnered three times.

In 2010, the Vikings reached as high as No. 12 in the NFCA top 25 poll. The Vikings reached the finals of the Central Region Tournament and ended the season with a 46-14 record.

A native of Albert Lea, Minn., Melsted was the head softball coach at Culver-Stockton in Canton, Mo., for three seasons before accepting the Augustana appointment. She twice took the Wildcats to appearances in the NAIA Region 5 Tournament, finishing third in 2004. That year CSC won the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament following a fourth-place finish in regular-season competition. Her Wildcats posted third-place finishes in regular-season conference action in 2005 and 2006.

Melsted was an assistant coach for softball and women’s basketball at William Woods in Fulton, Mo., for two years. She has also served as an assistant softball coach at Carleton (Minn.), assistant boys’ basketball coach at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn., and assistant softball coach at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Carleton and a master’s in education administration from William Woods. She played basketball and softball at Carleton and holds the school record for runs scored in a season (36 in 1997). She was a two-time recipient of the Ele Hanson Award, one of two athletic honors presented annually to female student-athletes at Carleton.

Melsted and her husband, Dan Van Schepen, are the parents of two sons, Matthew and Jacob.