Madison Geise finds her swing: Roland-Story senior hopes grand slam ignites her senior season
Macy Friest could sense something big was about to happen.
Teammate Madison Geise was standing in the batter's box for the Roland-Story softball team, facing off against Ballard's Maggie McCrady with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the third inning. With one swing, Geise erased what had been a frustrating stretch of play, smacking the ball over the fence in center field.
“I knew it was coming,” Friest said. “I was so pumped.”
The grand slam broke a 1-1 tie and was a big factor in a 9-7 Roland-Story victory over the Bombers on Tuesday at Gary Telford Field in Huxley.
“I’d never done it before,” Geise said. “It was pretty awesome.”
Before Tuesday's game Geise had been in a little bit of a funk.
She had been struggling with her consistency since a 2-for-3 performance with three RBIs against Greene County June 2. Geise was only 4-for-16 since then coming into the Ballard game.
During her career Geise had experienced issues with certain aspects of her swing. So she experimented with multiple types of swings to try and iron out her weaknesses.
“I’d been working on three different swings and coach (Amber Doyle) told me I had to stick with one," Geise said. "It ended up being this swing that Doyle usually teaches us.”
Turned out coach knew best.
“I told her I don’t care what you do as long as you own it and attack the pitch,” Doyle said. “She did that. It was good to see her get a big hit like that to get her confidence.”
Geise has played varsity softball since eighth grade. She was part of Roland-Story's Class 3A state runner-up team in 2018.
She took over as the starting pitcher her freshman year in 2019. Roland-Story went through a rebuilding 10-15 campaign that year, but by her junior year the Norse were back in the hunt for a state tournament appearance.
Roland-Story went 24-9 last year and reached the 3A regional finals before falling to Williamsburg.
Falling just shy of state left Roland-Story dead set on making it there this season. But Geise also had big plans in all of her other sports — she competes year-round with volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring before finishing with softball.
That was especially the case with volleyball — her first love and best sport. Geise is an all-state performer and Roland-Story's all-time assist leader in volleyball as one of the top setters in the entire state.
Those phenomenal volleyball skills earned Geise a Division 1 scholarship to Drake. With her college career just around the corner, staying fully committed to softball has been a challenge.
But she hasn't wavered one bit from her commitment to the softball program and trying to get the Norse back to Fort Dodge.
“Obviously we’re excited for her and her future and Drake — we know she’s excited to get going,” Doyle said. “But we’ve been building for this since she was a freshman. She was an eighth-grader when we went to state and she got to be a part of that. Having a taste of that and coming one game away from state last year gets her invested. We’re lucky because not everybody gets that from their seniors, especially ones that get to go on and play at the next level.”
Friest and shortstop Ally Ringsby are the other two senior starters for Roland-Story. Friest has been catching Geise since grade school.
“I don’t think I’ve had any other catcher in my life,” Geise said. “Sometimes I feel like she already knows what I’m doing.”
They want to end their careers with a bang.
“We’ve all been playing since freshman year, so this is our fourth year starting varsity,” Friest said. “It’s been a long journey for us.”
Their final run didn't get off to a smooth start.
The Norse began the season ranked 12th in 3A. Then they dropped their first three games.
But things are finally starting to come together. The victory over Ballard, a team it has historically struggled with, put Roland-Story at 9-5 on the season.
Geise has received quality help on the mound from youngsters Addy Sabatino and Alyssa Jones.
“It’s always hard to not play your No. 1 on the mound in a big game,” Doyle said. “But Addy does a nice job controlling lineups and Alyssa has done a great job when we’ve put her in too.”
Sabatino threw the first 4 1/3 innings against Ballard Tuesday before turning it over to Geise. She ended up getting the win.
The freshmen love having Geise as their mentor.
“It’s a lot less stressful,” Sabatino said. “She’s really nice and knows what she’s doing.”
If the freshmen can continue to build confidence and the Norse keep picking up momentum at the plate Geise just may end her career the same way it started — with a trip to the Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
“We didn’t necessarily have the start we wanted, but we are finally getting hits," Geise said. "It’s all starting to come together.”