Softball preview 2023: Fresh start in store for Montevideo Thunder Hawks
Montevideo returns just three starters: Tenley Epema, Taya Weber and Lily Eisenlohr
MONTEVIDEO — After posting a 2-18 record in 2022, Montevideo will have a fresh start and hit the reset button to its starting lineup in 2023.“This will be an exciting year with a very new team, as we graduated six seniors with starting positions last year,” Montevideo head coach Maddie Sletta said. “We will have new players in most of our outfield positions as well as many of the infield positions, including catcher, third base and second base.”
But as the Thunder Hawks lose six softball starters, they return three players to their lineup. The trio is made up of senior first baseman Tenley Epema, junior pitcher Taya Weber and sophomore shortstop Lily Eisenlohr.
Eisenlohr returns as Montevideo’s lead-off hitter. She batted better than.300 in both batting average and on-base percentage in 2022. Epema returns as the Thunder Hawks’ wily veteran. She recorded a .942 fielding percentage at first base with 60 putouts in her junior season.
“Lily is a staple asset to our team with the ability to be flexible in many positions after having played middle infield and outfield for us last year as a freshman. She is heads up, quick and intentional with her actions on the field,” Sletta said. “Tenley is our sole returning senior starter this season. She is a leader and role model on and off the team, and does not waiver in any situation.”
Other players to watch as noted by Sletta are sophomore Carlee Axford and freshman Peyton Dack.
Axford will be in the pitching rotation alongside Weber and Epema. It marks her first season at the varsity level. Dack will serve as Montevideo’s catcher.
“The girls are coming in with a positive, energetic, and determined attitude which is setting the standard for the type of season we intend to have,” Sletta said. “This group of girls is very intentional about their goals on and off the field, and I am excited to see where that takes them this season.”
Montevideo Thunder Hawks schedule
April 11 at NLS, 4:30 p.m.
April 13 vs. Morris/Chokio-Alberta, 4 p.m. (DH)
April 14 vs. Lakeview, 5 p.m.
April 20 at Sauk Centre, 4 p.m. (DH)
April 24 vs. Canby/Minneota, 4:30 p.m.
April 27 vs. West Central Area, 4 p.m. (DH)
May 2 vs. Redwood Valley, 5 p.m.
May 4 vs. Minnewaska, 4 p.m. (DH)
May 11 at Benson, 4 p.m. (DH)
May 15 at Melrose, 4 p.m. (DH)
May 16 vs. ACGC, 4:30 p.m.
May 19 at YME, 4 p.m.