Prep Softball: Tribune area previews
RETURNING STARTERS: Jacey Nelson, Payton Wilner, Hannah Wilner
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Falcons lost six senior starters from a team that finished second in the WC South. “There is a lot of competition for the varsity roster so a number of talented players could see some playing time,” Nelson said.
Benson/Hancock Brave Owls
COACHES: Ken Grunig and Shannon Schmidt (Grunig 25th season)
2013 RECORD: 5-11 West Central Conference, 5-13 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Madyson Krienke, Shaleah Schmidt, Krista Motzko
KEYS TO THE SEASON: “We are very young and inexperienced, especially in the pitching department,” Grunig said. “It is our hope to get significantly better every time out and by the time May rolls around we want to be able to compete with the best.
COACH: Melissa Sagedahl (3rd season)
2013 RECORD: 2-11 West Central Conference, 3-13 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Paige Larsen, Bailey Elbert, Brea Grund, Peyton Weis, Lauren Kopel, Morgan Flann, Elsa Skeie
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Warriors’ roster will consist of three seniors, a junior, six sophomores, three freshmen and an eighth-grader. “I have a great group of girls who bring in many different strengths to the program,” Sagedahl said.
COACH: Eileen Suter (22nd season)
2013 RECORD: 16-0 Camden Conference, 23-3 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Kalli Forsell, Ali Krieger, Sadie Sulier, Michelle Syverson, Sam Gjerde
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Saints will be rebuilding after losing their two top pitchers from the last five seasons. But they have five starters back who hit between .341 and .500 and Krieger — a Tribune All-Area first-teamer last season — and Gjerde have been effective in their varsity pitching debuts.
COACH: Luke Braaten (1st season)
2013 RECORD: 2-8 Wright Conference, 2-10 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Tasha Stubeda
KEYS TO THE SEASON: “This will be a young team, with only two seniors,” Braaten said.
COACH: Steve Hoffmann (28th season)
2013 RECORD: 11-3 West Central Conference, 14-7 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Madison Phillips, Allyssa Enger, Kacia Kollman, Shanae Suchy, Morgan Majerus
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Lakers are back with several talented returning starters to defend their WCC championship. “We’ll be young up the middle,” Hoffmann said. “Our catcher, shortstop, second baseman and centerfielder all will be new players.”
COACH: Kyle Goslee (13th season)
2013 RECORD: 10-5 West Central Conference, 12-7 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Ashley Hoehne, Jessie Janisch, Hannah Kuno, Kiersti Grey, Kelsey Olson, Lindsey Olson, Whitney Bartz, Mikaela Erickson, Alissa Runia
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Thunder Hawks will be looking to improve on their second-place finish in the WCC in 2013. “We have a lot of seniors that have experience,” Goslee said. “We’re looking for that senior leadership to take hold and lead this team to achieve their goals.”
COACH: Mary Holmberg (34th season)
2013 RECORD: 6-7 West Central Conference, 13-9 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Lauren Reimers, Becca Holland, Brooke Johnson, Nicole Strobel, Brianna Abril, Abbie Olson, Chelsey Ehleringer, Megan Gillespie
KEYS TO THE SEASON: Abril, Lacee Maanum and Kayla Pring will handle the pitching now that Tribune All-Area first-teamer McKenzie Van Batavia has graduated. Holmberg said the Tigers will be strong defensively, especially in the infield, where Reimers has started three seasons at shortstop. Catcher Brooke Johnson also is a three-year starter. “Offensively, the Tigers look forward to good contact and speed on the bases,” Holmberg said.
COACHES: Melissa Bergeson and Tracy Coahran (both 1st season)
2013 RECORD: 0-12 Wright Conference, 0-13 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Kelsey Rustad, Taylor Thunstedt, Brianna Fredrick, Lisa Dobbelaere, Amanda Thompson, Abbey Fuchs, Sienna Kampsen, Mackenzie Peterson, Lindsey Vagle
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Wildcats return six starters. “We are a very athletic team,” Bergeson said. “These girls are three-sport athletes who won the Wright County Conference in gymnastics and basketball. Playing in the tough Wright County Conference will get us ready to the section playoffs.”
COACH: Tim Woehler
2013 RECORD: 12-0 West Central Conference, 17-2 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Bri Stang, Sam Dahl, Kayla Schaefer, Allie Stanger
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Bulldogs have several key players back from a undefeated conference championship game. Schaefer, an All-Area first-teamer last year, hit .455 with 32 RBIs, Stang hit .413, Dahl hit .361 and Stanger hit .345. “We lost four seniors that were key to our success last year,” Woehler said. “Once we figure out how we are going to rotate our lineup around those holes we should be good to go.”
COACH: Tim Tanner (7th season)
2013 RECORD: 2-12 Camden Conference, 2-14 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Morgan Zaske, Brittany Krogman, Nora Kronlokken, Cassidy Fransen
KEYS TO THE SEASON: Kronlokken is back after missing last year with a knee injury, but the Jaguars are young, Tanner said. “We need to fit the pieces of the puzzle together,” he said. “We’re hoping to play competitively from the start.”
COACH: Shannon Cayler (3rd season)
2013 RECORD: 5-9 Central Lakes Conference, 6-13 overall
RETURNING STARTERS: Allie Roehl, Jordan Martins, McKenzie Hastad, Sarah Stadem, Leah Ruter, Lexi Kopacek
KEYS TO THE SEASON: Pitcher Heather Horning is playing at Ridgewater and Ruter will be in the circle for a third varsity season. Kopacek, a ninth-grader, will be the Cards’ No. 2 arm. Roehl hit .387 and scored 15 runs and Stadem hit .344 and scored 12 runs.