COLFAX — The Colfax softball team will have a mix of veterans and newcomers on the field this season, along with a pair of new coaches. After Joe Doucette decided he needed to have a break from coaching three sports, Rich Meredith took over the head coaching duties and will have Mike Dombrowski assisting him. Six players with experience return for the Vikings including three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore while one sophomore and eight freshmen fill out the team.
Colfax will have to replace some key positions including shortstop Mallie Doucette who was a four time All Conference Player and Conference Player of the Year last year, three year varsity player and second baseman Emily Tuschl, left fielder Equality Wilson and first baseman Taylor Shipman.
Looking to lead the Vikings are senior Kori Buchanan who played right field and was a Second Team AC pick. Buchanan could play third base and help with the pitching chores this year. Senior Karina Wait has patrolled center field for three years and was an Honorable Mention AC player last year while fellow senior Courtney Ottinger will return behind the plate after playing there for three years. All three batted over .300 last year and combined for 39 RBI. Junior Lakken Meredith took care of most of the pitching duties, throwing 110 innings with 47 strikeouts last year and was a First Team AC selection and the team MVP. Meredith also played third base and batted .433 with 14 RBI for the team. Junior Tiernee Knutson played some first base while sophomore Dalynn Mortenson spent some time in the outfield.
Newcomers looking for a varsity spot are sophomore Courtney Peterson, along with freshmen Mikaela Leibfried who may take over the shortstop position, Amanda Christianson, Kristen Paffel, Hailey Durand-Christianson, Becca Lee, Andrea (AJ) Ottinger, MaKayla Mattson and McKayla Moore.
After finishing in third place in the conference standings with an 11-4 record and a 12-7 overall record, coach Meredith believes with the help of his veterans and new coaches, the young players will be ready and willing to learn what it takes to play at a varsity level.
“I think we will do very well in the conference and will be competitive with every team we face,” he said. “Nothing can beat experience and this year will be all about that. Win or lose, we will look for the positive experiences that each game brings us and we will learn from it,” he added.
Several teams in the conference will be bringing rosters with a lot of veteran players this year which is a bonus for them, according to Meredith. He expects Elk Mound, Pepin-Alma, Boyceville and St. Croix Central to be contenders for the conference title.
“They were strong last year and should be again this year,” he said. “However, with our youth and some aggressive play on our part this year, don’t count us out. We will bring our best to every game and we could surprise a few teams.”
Weather and field conditions permitting, the Vikings open the season at Elmwood-Plum City April 7.