College softball: Warriors have more depth, especially on the mound
Jasmine Knick and Willmar's Abby Clancy join Angie Weller in the rotation as Ridgewater plans to improve on last season's 3-24 record
WILLMAR — The Ridgewater Warriors softball team wants to be competitive in the 2022-23 season.
The Warriors are fresh off a 3-24 season, including a sixth-place finish in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference South with a 1-19 conference record in 2021-22.
Ridgewater went through the 2021-22 season with one pitcher. But the Warriors enter with three when their season gets underway Friday with games against Rochester Community and Technical College at 11 a.m. and Central Lakes College at 3 p.m. at the Rochester Regional Stadium and Bubble.
Angie Weller, a sophomore right-hander, returns to the circle. With two more pitchers, she we see more time behind the plate as a catcher, which is her primary position.
Ridgewater head coach Datriana Jensen has high hopes for freshmen right-handers Jasmine Knick from Glencoe and Abby Clancy from Willmar. The two join Weller in the pitching rotation.
"Those two will be filling most of the time in the circle with Angie behind the plate," Jensen said. "I'm excited to have those two in there."
Weller is one of Ridgewater's five sophomores. Back for another year are outfielder/catcher Brooke Edlund, third baseman Hallie Redding, outfielder/second baseman Zoey Salvador and second baseman/right fielder Morgan Sumerfelt.
"We've got a strong sophomore group," Jensen said. "I think they'll do well."
Redding, Edlund and Weller return as a handful of the Warriors' top hitters from 2021-22.
Redding batted .439 with 23 runs scored, 12 RBIs and a home run in 23 games. Edlund held a .397 batting average with 23 RBIs, 15 runs scored and two home runs in 21 games. Weller hit .342 with 22 runs scored, 13 RBIs and a pair of home runs in 24 games.
"I think we can be competitive, which is great," Jensen said. "We want to compete with the best of the best and we've got that in our conference."
The top teams in the MCAC South in 2021-22 were St. Cloud Technical and Community College (18-2, 39-6) and Anoka-Ramsey Community College 17-3, 33-14).
"We want to be able to compete at their level," Jensen said. "They're the standard right now.
"The region tournament is always a goal; we want to be in that at the end of the season. We're going to be fighting for the top three spots this year."