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MLC senior pitcher Palubicki to return in 2021

NEW ULM — Martin Luther College softball player Morgan Palubicki lost her senior season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she’ll be back next year with a chance to do it all over again.

The NCAA granted all senior student-athletes a re-do for next year if they choose to do so. Palubicki plans to be a student-teacher next year in her fifth year at MLC, so she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play one more season.

“I would’ve student taught next year, I knew that if you were still on campus you could have that year of eligibility back,” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking about it, and then my advisor told me that I could extend it, I could just take normal classes next spring, so I would do student-teaching in the fall and play softball in the spring. I talked to the coaches and my parents and I just decided to do it.”

She said that it was tough for her to watch her fellow seniors leave this year on the terms that they did. The season ended after just eight games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was so sad, being that I technically went through the same boat,” she said. “There was six of us, all six of us put in so much work and so much effort into the program. We’ve seniors go through, but I think our senior class, just the attitudes we had and the wonderful people that went through, it was just so sad. We put in so much work and just to see it end like that.”

Palubicki went 2-3 this year with an ERA of 11.62 in five starts. She allowed 62 hits and 34 earned runs in 26.1 innings pitched, striking out eight. She has a career record of 14-34 with an ERA of 5.46.

She said she got the news while she was back home in Winona.

“I was in my car at Target [in Winona] and it didn’t hit me right away,” she said. “I just drove home and I just started bawling. I kind of was prepared for it, but I wasn’t fully prepared for it and I finally came to realize that I’m done.”

With another chance at her senior year, she’s already motivated to have a good year.

“I think the goal is to work two times harder,” Palubicki said. “I think last offseason I just took it for granted and I feel like I didn’t put as much effort in as I should’ve. I think even pushing the rest of the team too, take the offseason workouts and just do as much as I can.”

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