Ridgewater Lady Warriors softball preview
Todd Thorstad, 9th year
Southern Division: 19-1, 1st place
Overall: 28-8; Region 13A champions; 7th in NJCAA Division III
Minnesota opener: Thursday at Crown College, St. Bonafacious, 3 p.m.
Home: April 7 vs. Fergus Falls, 3 pm.
MCCC tournament: May 1-2, St. Cloud
Region 13A: May 9-10, to be determined
NJCAA DIII Tournament: May 14-16, Rochester, Minn.
Sam Drees, LeSueur (LeSueur-Henderson), C
Patina Queenan, Kerkhoven (KMS), P/OF
Ashley Schmeling, Corvuso (ACGC), IF
Kayla Terres, Melrose, IF
Tara Thielke, Holloway (Hancock), OF
Heather Thoma, Willmar, P
Molly Anderson, Granite Falls (YME), P
Kim Brill, Vergas (Perham), IF
Kristin Kahle, Winsted (Winsted Holy Trinity), P
Jodi Merritt, Porter (Canby), IF
Alex Olson, Atwater (ACGC), OF
Steph Rhea, Canby, IF
Danyel Stoufer, Hutchinson, OF
Lynelle Waldoch, Little Falls, OF
Aubrey Wren, Waverly (Watertown-Mayer), C/IF
The Warriors are 5-4 after a spring trip to Florida and indoor games in Rosemount.
The record against colleges in NJCAA Division III, where Ridgewater is ranked No. 3 pre-season, is 3-1.
"We try to have a challenging pre-division schedule and I am happy with what we have seen to date," commented head coach Todd Thorstad (158-102). "We have hit the ball very well and we have four quality pitchers in Heather Thoma (12-0, 2.57 ERA in 2008) Patina Queenan, Kristin Kahle and Molly Anderson. Our outfield is very strong with Tara Thielke (.404 avg.) in left, Danyel Stoufer in center and Queenan (.392 BA) in right. Jodi Merritt will anchor the infield at shortstop. We have six regulars back from the conference and region championship team. The conference will be solid from top to bottom. We will have to focus every game to be successful."
Second-year catcher Sam Drees started all 36 games last year for the Lady Warriors. Ashley Schmeling, a power hitter, is back after hitting .311 with three home runs as a freshman.
The Warriors have won four straight Minnesota Community College Conference (now MCAC) titles and appeared in four straight national tournaments.
- Rand Middleton