Softball preview 2023: NLS Wildcats aim for big improvements this spring

With an experienced lineup, Wildcats aim for a better finish in the Wright County Conference

Tribune's softball roundup
NLS junior Raeann Holmquist, 15, greets teammate Sydney Feist at the dugout after Fiest scored a run during a non-conference game against ACGC on Tuesday, April 13, 2022 at New London.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

NEW LONDON — Despite losing four starters due to graduation, New London-Spicer has six softball starters returning to its lineup in 2023.

The Wildcats, who held a 3-17 overall record and 1-13 Wright County Conference West record in 2022, will look to improve in 2023 behind experience its starters gained from the year prior.

NLS finished in eighth place in the Wright County Conference West Division in 2022.

052122.S.WCT.NLS SB Emily Ruter.JPG
NLS sophomore Emily Ruter makes a throw to first for an out during a non-conference game against Montevideo on Friday, May 20, 2022 at Montevideo.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“We are excited about the upcoming season and to a much improved team,” said NLS head coach Melissa Bergeson, who enters her ninth season at the helm of the Wildcats softball program. “The girls have been putting in work in the off-season and I’m expecting that to payoff with big dividends.”

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In this installment of the WCT Sports Show, Tom Elliott, Joe Brown and Michael Lyne discuss Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg softball and its standout head coach as well as Benson/KMS boys tennis making the trek to Minneapolis for the first time in 14 years. Plus, Section 3A-North baseball seeds are out.

NLS’ returning starters include two seniors in outfielders Raeann Holmquist and Sydney Feist, a trio of juniors in pitcher Emily Ruter, outfielder Brianna Wileman and infielder Delaney Hanson, and one sophomore in outfielder Abby Knudsen.


Two pitchers to watch are sophomore Sarah Kraemer and freshman Addi Nelson.

“All of our pitchers are returning along with some great senior leadership,” Bergeson said.

Also noted as players to watch by Bergeson: catchers Dalayne Hatlestad and Mallory Johnson, infielders Aly Wendlandt, Maren Munsch and Jadyn Proehl.

“We will be a team with depth at pitching, a great blend of speed and power, and improved defense,” Bergeson said.

NLS hoped to open the season against Montevideo on April 11 and then had another game scheduled with Wright County West opponent Dassel-Cokato on April 13. Both were home games. The Wildcats then hit the road April 14 to play at Morris/Chokio-Alberta.

NLS Wildcats Schedule

April 11 vs. Montevideo, 4:30 p.m.

April 13 vs. Dassel-Cokato, 4:30 p.m.

April 14 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta, TBD


April 17 at Litchfield, 4:30 p.m.

April 20 at Rockford, 4 p.m. (DH)

April 24 at Annandale, 4:30 p.m.

April 25 vs. Minnewaska, 4:30 p.m.

April 27 vs. Watertown-Mayer, 4 p.m. (DH)

May 1 at Dassel-Cokato, 4:30 p.m.

May 4 at Glencoe-Silver Lake, 4 p.m. (DH)

May 8 vs. Litchfield, 4 p.m.


May 11 vs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 4 p.m. (DH)

May 15 vs. Delano, 4:30 p.m.

May 19 at Paynesville, TBD

May 22 vs. Annandale, 4:30 p.m.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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