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Tribune Notebook: Ridgewater Warriors see improvement

Softball team opens season by going 0-4 at Rochester tournament, but head coach Datriana Jensen likes her team's potential

Ridgewater Practice 032723.003.jpg
Ridgewater freshman pitcher/shortstop Jasmine Knick throws the ball toward homeplate at a Warriors practice on Monday, March 27, 2023, at Ridgewater College in Willmar.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR โ€” It wasn't the best of starts for the Ridgewater College softball team, but it wasn't bad, either.

The Warriors finished 0-4 over the weekend at the Crossover Tournament played indoors at Rochester Technical College. However, Ridgewater head coach Datriana Jensen said it was close to being much better.

"I think we could have won three of the four games," Jensen said. "It felt good to have a chance to win three out of four."

The Warriors lost to Rochester 25-1 in five innings in a game in which Jensen started her bench players. Ridgewater then lost 6-5 to Central Lakes College of Brainerd, 7-2 to Minnesota North-Rainy River and 4-3 in eight innings to Minnesota North-Vermilion.

And while the losses were tough to take, Jensen saw improvement from last year's team that went 3-24.

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"Our depth in the circle helps a lot," she said, noting that Angie Weller, a catcher from New York Mills, was converted to pitcher last season and wound up being the Warriors' ace.

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Jasmine Knick and Abby Clancy are going to be key pitchers this year with Weller doing most of the catching. Knick (pronounced Ka-nick) is a freshman from Glencoe-Silver Lake who took the tough-luck loss in the Vermilion game. Clancy, a freshman from Willmar, pitched in the Central Lakes Conference game.

"I would feel like we're going to be a stronger fielding team," Jensen said.

Last year's squad, which had a tiny roster that often had nine or 10 players ready for games, had multiple players out of position in order to field a team. That's less likely to be the case this season with 14 players on the current roster.

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Now, it's a question of whether the Warriors can have an outdoor season. This week's games have been postponed because of all the snow still on the ground. Ridgewater's next scheduled outdoor games begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 in a doubleheader at Minnesota West-Worthington.

"I have no idea what it's like in Worthington (field condition wise)," said Jensen, noting that the Warriors' last scheduled regular-season games are May 4. "We've got like five weeks left."

Ex-Benson coach to enter hall

Former Benson wrestling coach Steve Ricard has been inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Richard was a coach at Benson beginning in 1991 as an assistant for five seasons to Gary Williams. He then took over as head coach for the next 11 years. He also coached youth and freestyle wrestling.

"It was a lot of fun watching Benson's first state champion and now head coach Scott Thompson win Benson's first state (individual) wrestling title," Ricard said in a statement. "A lot of people had a hand in that, from former coaches at all levels to parents (who) bought into the program. I am proud of all the kids in our program for finishing through their season year, regardless of record."

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Ricard continued to coach youth wrestling after stepping down as head coach in 2007. He then coached at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg for four years, being a part of a state championship team in 2009.

He's a Fertile-Beltrami native and 1986 graduate, posting a 61-7 career record and going to two state tournaments, placing third in 1985 as a junior. He then wrestled at Minnesota State-Moorhead, winning a conference title his senior year and being a four-time NAIA national qualifier.

The 2023 Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association David Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame induction dinner is Saturday, April 29 at McKinney's on Southside and the Country Inn Hotel in Benson. Tickets are available by calling 320-843-4508 or by inquiring by email at sricard#@benson.k12.mn.us

Tom Elliott has been the sports editor at the West Central Tribune since September 2019.
Contact him at telliott@wctrib.com or leave a message at 320-235-1150.
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