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Lady Vikings prepare to hit softball diamond

COLFAX — Hoping to improve on their 9-10 record from last season, Colfax softball coach Joe Doucette will have just 14 players competing for varsity spots on the ball diamond this year. However, eight of those players have plenty of experience with three of them named All Conference last year.

The Vikings lost just one player, Sam Simonson through graduation. She happened to be their leading hitter and starting first baseman. Senior Mallie Doucette, a first team AC selection, solidifies the shortstop position and was the team’s second leading hitter with a .389 batting average. Junior center fielder Karina Wait was an honorable mention selection as a sophomore and also batted .389 for the team and senior Emily Tuschl, another honorable mention pick returns after boasting a .340 batting average last year. Junior Alexis Rudi, also an HM player last year and one of the team’s leading hitters and a starting pitcher, chose to take her athletic ability to the track this season.

That means sophomores Lakken Meredith and Tiernee Knutson will have to pick up the pitching duties this season. Meredith has plenty of experience, throwing 34 innings last year, finishing with a 4-2 record and will play somewhere in the field when not pitching. Knutson had a few innings in on the mound while dealing with an injury last year. Senior Equality Wilson returns to left field, junior Kori Buchanan will play right field again and junior Courtney Ottinger will again fill the backstop position.

Other players contending for spots are senior Taylor Shipman, junior Abbie Greenwell, sophomore Hannah DeMoe and freshmen Dailyn Mortenson and Aaliyah Black.

Coach Doucette enters his fifth season leading the Vikings, bringing a 40-40 record in as the year begins. After finishing in the middle of the conference with a 7-9 record last year, the team beat Bloomer and Boyceville before losing in the regional final to Elk Mound.

“We had an up and down year last year, playing very well at times and struggling other times,” he said. “We will need to pitch better and walk less batters, and our defense has to improve which will help our pitchers. We want to work hard and improve. We feel we have the potential to contend for a conference title this year,” he added.

Doucette, assisted by Ed Korback, expects Pepin, Elk Mound and Spring Valley to be contenders for a conference title but hopes his team can be right up there with them. The Vikings are scheduled to begin the season April 4 against Durand but as usual, time will tell when they actually do get on the field.