Melissa enters her second season with the Lions and comes to Southern after two years as the head coach at Eagan (Minn.) High School where she took a 1-19 program and complied a two-year record of 18-23. Prior to EHS Melissa was a graduate assistant at Minnesota State University at Moorhead, where she attained her master’s degree in education leadership. While at MSU-M the Dragons finished 14-24, 5-18 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Chmielewski played her collegiate career at NCAA D-I North Dakota State University where she played first base from 2007-10. Melissa was a two-time Summit League Player of the Year (2010 and 2008), a 2010 CoSIDA College Division first-team Academic All-American, a 2010 Summit League All-Tournament Team selection, a 2010 and 09 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Midwest Region first-team selection, a three time All-Summit League first-team selection, a 2008 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Midwest Region second-team selection, a three time NFCA Scholar Athlete, a 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team, a two-time Summit League Winter/Spring All-Academic selection, a two-time Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence selection, a 2007 Division I Independent Newcomer of the Year, and a 2007 All-Independent first-team selection.
Helping the Bison transition from D-II to D-I, Chmielewski, was a part of the four year period that saw NDSU go 142-85 overall and 47-14 in their first three years in the Summit League. Winning two Summit League titles, in 2009 and 10, Melissa and the Bison made two NCAA Regional appearances. In 2009, NDSU knocked off perennial power Oklahoma in the opening game of the Norman Regional and went on to advance to the Tempe, Ariz. Super Regional before falling to the defending WCWS champions, Arizona State, two games to none. In 2010 the Bison put up a 33-25 overall record, a 14-8 Summit League mark, while advancing to the Seattle Regional.
Chmielewski can be found all over the NDSU record books. She holds the records for most hits in a game, five, most RBIs in a game, eight, and most walks in a game, four. She also holds records in most home runs in a game with two and total bases in a game with 11. On the defensive side she holds the career record for most fielding chances with 1,415. She is in the top 10 in eight different offensive career categories for the Bison, including second in career home runs with 38. She also holds the career record in put outs with 1,310 to go along with her career mark in fielding chances.
A 2006 graduate of Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minn. she also played hockey as well as softball.
Chmielewski graduated in 2010 from North Dakota State University with degrees in both physical education and health.
Before coming to Joplin, Erickson spent two seasons as the assistant coach at Upper Iowa University in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. While at UIU Erickson coached the outfield and pitchers. Before UIU, Erickson was the outfield and pitching coach for the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
Erickson will coach the outfield and the pitchers this Spring for the Lions.
Erickson enjoyed a very illustrious playing career at Minnesota State Mankato, playing in a total of 220 games and earning four consecutive trips to the NCAA Regional Tournament. As a junior, Erickson and the Mavericks finished fourth in the nation after dropping their final two games in the 2011 NCAA Softball Championships.
During that season, Erickson set the single-season record for games played with 70, while recording a .286 batting average, 46 runs batted in, 9 home runs, 10 doubles and she scored 39 times. The Mavericks played in the NCAA Regional, the Super Regional and the NCAA Championships before falling to fifth-seeded Midwestern State in their final game of the season. MSU posted a school-record 54 wins that year, losing only 16 times all season.
In her final year in the purple and gold, the Mavericks were primed for another deep postseason run. Yet the Golden Bears of Concordia University had other plans; MSU lost to CU, 3-1, in game six of the NCAA Regional Tournament failing to advance to the Super Regional.
As a senior, Erickson was named an All-NSIC First Team performer and an NFCA First Team All-Central Region selection after tying for the team-high in home runs (11) and leading the Mavericks with 47 runs scored, 50 runs batted in, 36 walks and 16 stolen bases. Erickson also finished second on the team in batting average (.333), slugging percentage (.594), on base percentage (.459), hits (55), total bases (98) and she posted a clutch .600 batting average with the bases loaded.
At the time of her graduation, she led all active Mavericks in home runs (29) and RBI (132) while recording 32 doubles. The 29 homers and 132 career RBI ranks second all-time on the MSU charts. Rounding out her senior season, Erickson was named to the NSIC All-Tournament Team as the Mavericks hosted the NCAA Regional Tournament in Mankato.
In High School, Erickson was a three-sport athlete as she competed in softball, volleyball and basketball. As a junior and senior, she earned All-State honors and was named a four-time All-Mississippi 8 selection. Erickson made appearances in the state tournament three years in a row finishing as a senior and fourth as a junior.