The Last Hurrah: Star hurler Morgyn Otte gunning to lead Randolph on one last run
Morgyn Otte is going to pitch at Southwest Minnesota State University next year. Her softball career is far from over, but the Randolph Rockets have unfinished business, and Otte has the arm and bat to lead them to that much-coveted state title.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. The 2020 season was supposed to be the one when the Randolph softball team got over the hump and won the state title.
They had come ever so close in 2019, falling to Southwest Minnesota Christian in the Class A state semifinals. The Rockets went on to finish third while Southwest Minnesota Christian won the state championship.
So when the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, it was a devastating blow. Star senior pitcher Morgyn Otte knows that this year is everything. This is her last chance to make that run to a state title.
"I didn’t realize how much fun we missed out on last year until we started this year,” Otte said. “We have seven or eight seniors and so having that experience of all of us coming through from junior high to varsity and now it’s our last year and we’re pushing for what we want.”
There’s a form of pressure, but when Otte steps into the circle, she’s the most comfortable. That’s where she’s at peace. She controls the game. Her mom, Casi Otte, would tell you that she wasn’t a very good softball player, but she’s turned into an influential piece in Morgyn’s development into one of the best players in southeastern Minnesota.
“She’d always tell me that softball is a mental game,” Otte said. “She’s instilled confidence in me.”
Simply put: Otte is coming for everybody who steps in the box. There’s a target on Randolph’s back this year, and every single team is gunning to knock them off, but Otte doesn’t feel that pressure. Instead, she’s the one who makes hitters uncomfortable. She’s leaned on her fastball and riseball in recent years, but she’s added a devastating curveball to her repertoire and a changeup that’s only getting better.
Plus, Randolph doesn’t need her to pitch every single game this year, so she can be even more aggressive.
The early results have been terrific. Otte hasn’t allowed a run yet and the Rockets are a perfect 4-0. She fired seven outstanding innings in the season-opener against Pine Island, allowing just one hit and fanning 12. The curveball was dipping and diving like a butterfly.
"One of them curved so hard that I laughed,” Otte said. “I don’t usually show emotion at all but I could not believe it did that.”
Otte is a special player and she teams up with slugger Megan Erickson to form one of the most dominant duos in southeastern Minnesota. They played basketball together, too, and were both All-Southeast Conference selections. Their softball coach, Dennis Trom, also coaches them on the basketball court.
"He’s a different person in basketball,” Otte laughed. “He’ll scream and yell in basketball and then in softball, it’s like he doesn’t have a yelling voice. But he’s been amazing. Me, Megan and Meredith Taylor, we’ve been coached by him since seventh grade in two sports. Most of our school years are spent with him. You can’t spend much more time with someone than we do. He’s just become someone you rely on and you trust and you can talk to him about anything. He knows how to handle us and our attitudes and we get mad. We have a great bond with him that you usually don’t see with coaches."
Otte has already signed with Southwest Minnesota State to continue her softball career partially because they have the same vibe that Trom has brought to Randolph.
“I love that team and love that coaching staff,” Otte said. “They’re a family and they remind me of my Randolph team so much. I'm from such a small school and I didn’t want to be overwhelmed at a big school. SMSU is a smaller school with smaller class sizes and it makes me way more comfortable than going to a big school with like 100 kids in each class.”
But before she trots off to SMSU, Otte has unfinished business at Randolph. The pain of losing last year didn’t really set in until they got back on the field this spring. It’s driven and motivated Otte and her Rocket teammates.
And that’s a scary sight for the rest of the state.
"I think of it as our ‘Last Hurrah,’” Otte said. "Like the last thing before we graduate. It’s been our goal for so long. We got cut short last year. This year is all or nothing."