Sam Macken I Director of Softball
Sam attended Rochester Lourdes High School where she graduated in 2013. A Minnesota native, she attended the University of Minnesota, Twins Cities, where she lettered four years and started both infield and outfield. She was awarded 3 Academic All B1G Ten Honors, was a 2-Time Distinguished Scholar, received both 1st and 2nd Team All B1G Ten honors and was a 2-Time NFCA All-Region selection. Her freshman year she sealed the Gophers 1st B1G Ten championship in 15 years with a walk off hit and was instrumental in helping the Gophers to their first ever Super Regional with a go-ahead home run against Auburn in the NCAA Regional final. Sam helped lead the Gophers to 3 B1G Ten Championships, 4 NCAA Tournaments and a Super Regional in her 4-year career. She ended her career ranked 2nd All-Time in runs scored and 4th All-Time in doubles. Her career batting average was 0.339. In her senior season she was awarded the B1G Ten Sportsmanship Award and was a Top-30 Finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. The Gophers won over 190 games in her 4-year career and establish the winningest season ever in 2017 going 56-5. Sam graduated in 2017 with a degree in Business Marketing and a minor in Sports Management.
TORI Finucane I Assistant Softball Director
Tori, a Maryland native and 2013 graduate of Bishop O'Connell High School (VA), is a two-time NFCA First Team High School All-American. Her high school career also included back-to-back Gatorade Virginia Softball Player of the Year awards in 2012 and 2013. Her college career began at the University of Missouri, where as a freshman in the SEC, compiled a 21-6 record with a 1.73 ERA. Also during her freshman season, she won SEC Pitcher of the Week and NFCA National Player of the Week after going 2-0 on the road against the #3 ranked team in the country, the Florida Gators, including a 10-strikeout performance to clinch the series. Additional recognition during her freshman season included being names the 2014 SEC Freshman on the Year, 1st Team All-SEC, SEC All Freshman Team, and NFCA National Freshman of the Year Top 10 Finalist. As a sophomore, Tori compiled a 21-8 record and was named second Team All-SEC. After a junior season that was limited due to injuries, Tori completed her fourth year of eligibility at the University of Minnesota. In her lone season with the Gophers, the team set numerous school records, including a #1 national ranking in the NFCA/USA Today Coaches Poll and a 56-5 record for the season.
Erika Smyth I Hitting & Infield coach
Erika, a Washington state native and 2011 graduate of Kentlake High School, is a two time First Team All-League award winner and four-time Gold Glove award winner as a high school short stop. She still holds her high school record for most plate appearances without a strike out (182). She was recruited by former Gopher Softball Head Coach Jessica Allister, and signed her NLI to play softball at the University of Minnesota where she was a four-year letter winner. Erika was a part of the historic class of 2015 that took Gopher Softball to their first Regional appearance in 10 years in 2013, first Big Ten Championship in 15 years in 2014, and the first Regional Championship and Super Regional appearance in 2014. She ended her career having started 110 games at second base and posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 2014. She is the first and only player in Gopher Softball history to win back-to-back Teammate of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015 – the only award voted on by the players. Erika graduated in 2015 with her Bachelors in Business and Marketing and was a three-time Academic All Big Ten Award winner.
Courtney O'Connor I Hitting & Catching
Courtney graduated from Shakopee High School in 2013. While playing for Shakopee she received All-Conference Honorable mention and All-Conference Honors her junior and senior years. After graduating in 2013, Courtney went on to play for Bemidji State University, where she was a four-year starter behind the plate. While at Bemidji she was part of a program turn around from an 11-31 record her freshman year to a 28-19 record her senior year. Courtney was on pace to break the program putout record before an injury ended her senior season early. She also boasted a career fielding percentage of .981. Courtney graduated from Bemidji with a degree in Exercise Science and a Coaching Certificate. Courtney has been coaching girls fast pitch for 8 years, 3 of which were spent as a head coach.
Abby Brinkmeier I Hitting & Fielding
Abby, a Minnesota native and 2013 graduate of Eagan High School, is a four time All Conference Winner, All State Honorable Mention, three time Offensive Player of the Year and team MVP, while serving as Captain for two seasons in High School. After High School, Abby went on to play Division I Softball at The University of Wisconsin- Green Bay. She played all four years making her way to the top of the lineup and playing in the outfield. She ended her playing career being ranked 4th in Green Bay Softball history with 150 career hits and a .311 batting average. In addition, she was nominated to the 2014 All Horizon League Tournament Team and the 2017 All Horizon League Conference 2nd Team, along with being nominated as a Softball Team Captain 2015-2017. In addition to her success on the field, she also excelled in the classroom being on the Deans List all four years, the Horizon League Honor Roll and graduating Magna Cum Laude. Abby Graduated in 2017 with her Bachelors degree in Education with a Minor is Spanish & Human Development.
Mike Macken I Club coach
Mike Macken is a Rochester, MN native and attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he played third base and lettered 4-years for the UW baseball program. After baseball he played competitive softball where he won more than 20 Minnesota State Championships and 6 National Championships. He started coaching fastpitch in 2003 when his daughter, Gopher, Sam Macken started playing. He coached Sam throughout her JO career, first in Rochester, then for the MN Stars (Eagan, MN). Currently, he is the Assistant Coach at Lourdes High School in Rochester, MN where he has been coaching since 2007 and is also an active member of the Rochester Youth Fastpitch Softball Association. He has been an advocate for softball players for more than 30 years.
Liv DeSylvester I Club Coach
Liv graduated from the Academy of Holy Angels in 2014. As a 4-year starting shortstop for varsity, she received accolades such as Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and All Conference Honorable Mentions. During that time, Liv also played for the MN Irish and was placed on an "All-Star" team her last year of club ball (Team MN) that was made up of MN Thunderboltz and MN Irish players. After high school, she went on to play college softball at Bemidji State University. She is currently entering her senior year pursuing a double major in Criminal Justice (emphasis in law enforcement and victimology) and Psychology with a minor in Health Promotion. Liv played for BSU's softball team until complications from a shoulder injury ended her softball career. She has coached softball for the past five years, starting with the MN Irish and then moving to the Shakopee Stealth and now for the MN Starters.
Mady Bunnell I Club Coach
Mady Bunnell is a Lakeville native and graduated from Lakeville North in 2014 playing all four years. There for the 2013 and 2014 season she received the Best Teammate award and holds her trophy proud! During her club ball years she played under the Lakeville Ice, the Minnesota Impact, and the Minnesota Stars. After high school, she took her catching career to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls pursuing a double major in finance and economics. For the Falcons, Bunnell was very consistent behind the plate maintaining a .987 fielding percentage while leading her team in the batter's box in walks. Along with playing, Mady has got a jumpstart on her coaching career right out of the gates under the wing and mentor ship of Ashley Snedeker. She has been coaching for the past five years, two of which as a head coach. Mady’s experience and passion for the game is going to make a positive impact in the Starters program.