Vikings’ girls’ sluggers aiming high for 2017 season

By Cara L. Dempski

COLFAX — Head coach Rich Meredith’s Colfax girls’ softball team had a 2016 season that left a lot to be desired.

The team finished with a 3-10 overall mark in the large Dunn-St. Croix standings a year ago and where eliminated in the opening round of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs following a stinging 11-1 loss to the Cadott Hornets, who went on to defeat second-seeded Durand in a second-round regional game before losing to Eau Claire Regis in the regional final.

This year’s Colfax team has two goals for Dunn-St. Croix contests.

“We want to score at least 10 points in conference games, but our biggest goal is to be competitive in the conference,” Meredith stated.

The 2017 Vikings will be helped by the return of most of the 2016 team, but will feel the loss of team leader, first-team all-conference honoree, and 2016 graduate, Lakken Meredith. Coach Meredith is not too worried, though, since most of 2016’s squad of sluggers return to the field this year.

Mikaela Leibfried will be back behind home plate this season as the team’s starting catcher. She allowed only one stolen base in 2016, and led the team with 91 put-outs in 12 games. She averaged .523 in 44 at-bats. 

Tamara Huffman will be back on the pitcher’s mound this year; Meredith describes her as an excellent player who loves the game. Huffman had an ERA of 6.51 over 12 games last season.

Junior Makayla Mattson returns to first base, where she was solid all season in 2016. She earned 50 put-outs in 2016 and a .981 fielding percentage. Kaitlyn Field will  be back in right field, where her smarts and strong arm were used to good effect last year.

Hailey Durand-Christianson will again hold down third base, and should bring a big bat to this year’s team. Amanda Christianson will see some work in right field, and Dailyn Martinson is back to play center field as this year’s only senior.

Becca Lee returns to second base with her quick glove and range.

Meredith is looking at two freshmen, Jozie Buchanan and Kameri Meredith, to make significant contributions on this year’s squad. Buchanan has the skill to fit in as a pitcher, short stop or catcher, whereas Meredith is a good hitter who could fit in well at third base or short stop.

The Vikings’ coach said he sees a distinct positive in the team this year.

“I believe we will be a very good defensive team,” Meredith explained. “I am hopeful that our offense will match our defensive play.”

Coach Meredith sees Elk Mound as one the strongest teams in the conference again this year, and said the Vikings look forward to the rivalry games between the two near-neighbor teams. He is also keeping his eye on Glenwood City with its experienced returning players, and Durand’s solid team and good pitching.

Rich Meredith is in his third year as the head coach of the Colfax Vikings softball team, and has a 12-19 record. 

Colfax will open its season April 6 at home when it welcomes the Glenwood City Hilltoppers. The Lady Vikings will travel to Boyceville four days later for an April 10 meeting with the Bulldogs at Pafko Park.

The team will return to Colfax April 11 for a contest against Durand.

Roster

Senior: Dailyn Martinson.

Juniors: Makayla Mattson, Hailey Durand-Christianson, Amanda Christianson, Mikaela Leibfried, Tamara Huffman, Rebecca Lee and Kaitlyn Field

Sophomores: Emma Hurlburt.

Freshmen: Tori Hill, Jozie Buchanan and Kameri Meredith.