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Willmar Notebook: DII schools nab Roelike, Bodin

(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Ridgewater's Emily Roelike is hitting .509 with 10 home runs this spring.1 / 2
(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Ridgewater's Brandi Bodin is batting .537 with 25 doubles.2 / 2

Watching the Ridgewater College softball team this spring has been a treat -- even in damp cold.

Part of the pleasure is the play of sophomores Emily Roelike and Brandi Bodin. They hit first and second, respectively, in the Lady Warriors' batting order. For opposing pitchers, it is an often lethal one-two punch.

Roelike runs the bases like a cheetah and Bodin can fly, too. She may be a catcher but she's 9-for-9 in steal attempts. Both players hit for power. In the field, each is superb. Roelike has great range and a laser arm. Bodin has everything you'd want in a catcher -- strength, sound arm and quickness to the bunt.

Roelike is going to Minnesota State, Moorhead for softball and Bodin will attend Bloomfield College in New Jersey to play softball. Roelike, an All-America volleyball player, is from Belgrade (Belgrade-Brootne-Elrosa High School).

Bodin, also a volleyball player on the Lady Warriors' national championship team, is from Clara city (MACCRAY High School).

Both colleges are NCAA Division II programs. The Bloomfield College Deacons play in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

"I have not seen a better all around shortstop or catcher than Emily or Brandi at the DIII level since I have been coaching," said Todd Thorstad, now in his 11th season as Ridgewater coach. "They can do so many things on offense and defense."

Roelike is hitting .509 with 10 home runs, 42 RBI, 56 runs and is 26 of 27 attempting to steal. Bodin is hitting at a .537 clip with 32 extra-base hits and 38 RBI. They are within one hit of one another; together the pair has 111 hits in 31 games.

The Lady Warriors have a 27-6 record with the postseason drawing near.

On the fly

Ridgewater College baseball player Gavin Biegler has signed a letter of intent to pitch for Mayville State (N.D.) University next year. He'll play for Scott Berry, who is in his 30th season as the Comets' chief. He picked up his 800th career win on March 6. The Ridgewater right-hander, who is a sophomore from Perham, has embraced the role of set-up man for Warriors' closer Cody Johnson. His ERA is 1.42. Biegler, one of four Mayville signees on April 21, was spotted by pitching Pete Pratt at the Warriors' scout day last fall. Pratt is in his first year with the Comets after coaching at St. Cloud State.

Jordan Smith is the offensive leader at St. Cloud State (28-8) in most categories. Through 36 games, he leads the Huskies in average (.366), doubles (12), triples (tie, 2), home runs (5), RBI (34) and total bases (79). The sophomore third baseman will play in the Cape Cod collegiate league this summer after playing with the Willmar Stingers in 2010.

Dwight Kotila, who guided the Warriors baseball team to six visits to the NJCAA Division III World Series this century, picked up his 400th career win on April 17 with a win over the Hamline JV. Kotila is Director of Athletics at Century College where he also teaches. This is the first year of baseball at the JC in White Bear Lake. He coached Riverland College before coming to Willmar in 2000.

The Willmar Christian Hockey League sent two teams to Christian Cup VIII in Minneapolis April 8-10. The local team competing in Division B placed first of six teams. The team in Division C placed runner-up among four teams.

Mike Kingery will be inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame on May 15. The induction ceremony will be held at Edinburgh USA Golf and Event Center in Brooklyn Park. Kingery was a four-sport athlete at Atwater High School, winning all-state recognition in football, baseball and track and played football at Ridgewater College. He had a 17-year career in pro baseball, including stints with six major league teams.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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