ELK MOUND — Beginning his first year as head softball coach for Elk Mound, Dylan Pronschinske not only has big shoes to fill as the leader of the team but also on the field as well.
Replacing 10 year coach Kari Kallio who resigned after posting a 139-90 record and leading the Mounders to regional championships three of the past four seasons, Pronschinske loses seven players from last year’s team through graduation, including several four year letter winners and All Conference players. Gone are Maddy Polden, Katie Bergh, Becca Kopp, Kylynn Simon, Amanda Ward, Eileen Vasey and Kaysi Meindel. The team finished 19-6 overall and 14-3 for second place behind Alma-Pepin in conference play.
Returning letter winners are senior Katie Johnson and juniors Dayna Kotecki and Lizzie Schreiber. Johnson started at third base and batted .353 for the season, Schreiber played centerfield with a .238 batting average while Kotecki took care of the majority of the pitching duties, throwing 105 innings with a 13-6 record. She also was a leading hitter for the team at .487 including nine doubles and 19 RBIs and was a second team All Conference pick. Juniors Morgan Polden and Lexi DeLong also have experience on the mound.
“We have many young players hoping to fill a lot of open spots this year,” Pronschinske said. “Our biggest strength should be in the circle since we return all three pitchers from last year and that will help us be competitive. I expect Alma-Pepin, Colfax and Boyceville to contend for the conference title but our first goal for the team is to be a contender for the title ourselves, and our second goal is to make a long run in the WIAA tournament,” he added.
Two other seniors who saw playing time last year return including Makenna Borofka and Lindsey Kohls while juniors vying for varsity spots include Katie Bensen, Brianna Edington, Cassandra Huffman and Keshia Stahlbusch. Sophomores competing are Hannah Brunner, Katelynn Lyman, Morgan McDougall, Krystal Nigon, Abbey Olson, Jade Sorenson and Makenna Zurbuchen. 10 freshmen round out the roster including Emily Ausman, Elizabeth Bauer, Kirstin Dutzie, Kala Gorell, Meredith Hainstock, Baylee Hanson, Jenna Heit, Jennifer Huffman, Karie Jo Nigon and Lauren Scharlau.
Weather problems have already forced some cancellations so fans will have to check the school website to make sure if games will be played or not.