ELK MOUND — Not only did this year’s group of Mounder softball players achieve some team goals this year, a strong core of seniors broke plenty of individual school records along the way. Four of the five seniors on this years team saw action in four years at the varsity level including Dayna Kotecki, Elizabeth Schreiber, Lexi Delong and Morgan Polden, while Brianna Edington played two years on the varsity. In four years, (two under coach Kari Kallio and two with Dylan Pronschinske), the Mounders compiled a 75-26 overall record and a 58-9 Dunn-St. Croix Conference record.
After finishing as the runner up to Pepin-Alma for three years in the conference, the Mounders finally snapped that streak and went 18-0 to win the conference championship this year. The Mounders won regional championships as freshman and sophomores, losing to powerhouse Grantsburg in the sectionals both times, then lost to Eau Claire Regis in the second round of the regional tournament as juniors. The final high school game for the five seniors came with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the regional championship game to Bloomer, who just happened to make it to the state tournament last week.
Dayna Kotecki found her way to the pitcher’s mound early in her freshman year and stayed there for the majority of her high school days. She now holds the school record for most career wins with 63 and is second all time in whiffing batters with 390 strikeouts. She also holds the record for most wins in a season with 22, most strikeouts with 157 and is first in shutouts with seven. Overall her pitching record is 63-20 and in 409 innings Kotecki gave up 528 hits while walking just 166 batters to go with those 390 Ks. Her earned run average as a senior was 1.76.
Kotecki helped her team with the bat as well, banging 106 hits which puts her second in Elk Mound school history and is second in doubles with 23. She rapped five home runs in her career and a pair of triples and brought in 69 runs. She was second on the team in RBIs as a junior with 24 and tied for second her sophomore year with 19. Her overall batting average was .364 and she swiped nine bases, and amazingly struck out only three times in each of her four seasons. Fielding her position was never a problem for her, finishing with 50 putouts and 139 assists. Kotecki was a four time All Conference player, honorable mention her freshman year, Second Team her sophomore year and First Team as a junior and senior.
Elizabeth Schreiber certainly learned what being on the powerlifting team can do for you in softball as she belted 14 home runs this year for a school record, and with one last year, now holds the career record with 15. After four seasons, she leaves the Mounders with the school record in triples with 9 and in RBIs, bringing 91 teammates home. She was first in batting average for a season with .462 this year, was first in on base percentage at .531 and first in RBIs for a single season with 51. She also has the top two slugging percentage seasons with 1.011 and .671 as a junior and senior. In four years, Schreiber crossed the plate 82 times including 32 times this year and 30 as a junior, tying her for second on the team both seasons. She collected 102 hits which is third most in Mounder history, including 33 last season and 43 this year, again placing her second on the team two years running. She added 20 doubles to place her third on the career high list, including 11 as a junior and led the team in RBIs that same year with 27. Patrolling the outfield, she covered plenty of ground and totaled 83 putouts and five assists and had an overall fielding percentage of .862 including an errorless season in her sophomore year. She earned Second team All Conference as a junior and not only made First Team this year, Schreiber was chosen as the Conference Player of the Year.
Infielder Lexi Delong played in 15 games her first two years of high school then cracked the starting lineup for good as a junior. She ended her career with the third highest batting average in Mounder history at .436 and is also third in hits for a season with 41. She scored 58 runs, spanked 73 hits with 12 doubles including eight of them this year which tied her for second on the team, and brought in 41 runs, 21 coming as a junior. Playing mostly second base, Delong recorded 55 putouts and 86 assists and as a senior had a .947 fielding percentage with just four errors. She was a Second Team AC pick as a senior.
Morgan Polden did some pitching her freshman and sophomore year and had a record of 5-1 with a total of 36 innings, striking out 18 batters and walking 19. She picked up three saves her sophomore year but with the emergence of Kotecki on the mound, Polden eventually found her niche in left field. She chased down many a fly ball near the fence and snared several sinking line drives to save runs from being scored through the course of her two years in the field and totaled 40 putouts with 24 this year and a .893 fielding percentage with only three errors. She perfected her bunting skills over the summer and was second on the team behind Delong in sacrifice bunts with seven this year while rapping 23 hits including four doubles. She scored 20 runs (30 total) and collected 21 RBIs with 17 as a senior while swiping four bases.
Edington played in 18 games with 15 as a senior. She had a two year total of two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored while drawing six walks.
Throughout the course of the year, coach Pronschinske praised this group of seniors for not only their athletic ability but their leadership skills.
“We had several underclassmen playing this year and our seniors were a big help to them,” he said. “This group of girls won some big games and took some tough losses but they always held their heads up, knowing they played their hardest in every game. For them to go 18-0 in conference was fantastic and in their final game against Bloomer, it came down to a couple of close plays that could have been called either way. These seniors were a huge part of the success Elk Mound has had over the years and the young kids will benefit from playing with them,” he added.