Kleman, Warriors win big on Senior Day

After a tough doubleheader loss to top-ranked Augustana yesterday, Winona State softball got back on Johnson Field Sunday for the last home series of this regular season.

So you know what that means–it’s Senior Day.

And what a senior class this is for the Warriors: four-year senior Carly Kordish, and COVID seniors Jordyn Kleman, Ali Nowak and Katie Kolb. Kordich is a 2019 NSIC All-Tournament outfielder, while the other three each decided to use their extra year of eligibility for one last ride with the Warriors. Nowak and Kolb are two of the best hitters the Warriors have ever seen, with Kolb an on-base machine and Nowak with a career batting average well over .400.

Then there’s Kleman, a former state champ at Logan, who’s one of the best pitchers Winona State has ever seen.

She ranks in the top three at Winona State in several major categories, and ranks first all-time in wins, wins in a season, and no-hitters.

Kleman would earn her 20th win of the season in the first Sunday game with Wayne State, allowing just two hits and striking out five. She is the second Warrior to ever have three 20-win seasons in a career.

In the fourth inning, head coach Greg Jones came out to home, and he subbed out all the seniors at once. Kleman said it’s something Jones did a few years ago for another class, but came as a total surprise to the four of them in the moment.

An official ceremony honored the seniors between the games today. which Winona State won 18-0 and 15-0, and gave Kleman a time to reflect on the day and her career.

“As much as it should be exciting, we were dreading it was coming, because we knew how sad it would be, but at the same time it’s so special, so it’s a big mix of emotions,” she said.

Her parents Cory and Cindy have attended each home game over the years and couldn’t be more proud.

“It’s been humbling, simply because we know how hard she worked,” said father Cory.

“We’ve loved being so close, knowing they can make it to every game, and it’s pretty much a home game every time we get to play here,” Kleman said of her family. “It’s been awesome just having their support and knowing they can be there has been a big part of my career.”

“They really changed the culture of the program,” head coach Jones said of his seniors. “They’re a team-first group, and they’ve been great leaders for four years.”

“I don’t even have words to describe what it means to be a Warrior and how special it is,” Kleman said. “And to get to do it with your best friends is the best part of all of it.”

Winona State will be a three-seed in the upcoming NSIC Tournament in Rochester. Winona State will match up with St. Cloud State in their first tournament matchup, with first pitch set for noon Thursday.