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Bulldog softball: Will depth equal success?

By Missy Klatt

BOYCEVILLE — The Lady Bulldogs are gearing up for a competitive year on the field this year, under the direction of head coach, Jamie Olson.  This is Olson’s 9th year coaching.  He will be assisted this year by Kevin Bygd.

Last year the Lady Dawgs were 14-10 overall and 10-8 in conference play.  However they lost five girls to graduation that played a big role in their 14 wins. Madysn Riek batted .360 and was second team All Conference. Brooklyn Hellmann was also second team All Conference and batted .328. Morgan Kuhn, Kayla Hoff and Tori Kostman were also lost to graduation. Olson states that “we have some big defensive shoes to fill with the absence of our shortstop (Reik), catcher (Hellmann), third baseman (Kuhn) and second baseman (Hoff).

The Lady Dawgs will be returning five starters from last year: Tyra Kostman who is an outstanding pitcher, winning 13 games with 99 strike outs and pitching  a whopping 148 1/3 innings. She was also All Conference honorable mention. Marissa Dormanen who plays first base, batted .435 last season and was named first team All Conference. Jadia Peterson, left field; Amber Retzloff, right field and Makenna Weber, center field round out the five returners from last year.  Senior, Kylie Krueger is coming off ACL surgery and looks to play a big role with this year’s team after starting as a sophomore. Letter winner, Emma Bygd was a utility player last year and returns as a sophomore with experience.

The Lady Dawgs also return some non letter winners that will be battling for starting positions.  They include Hannah Johnson at first base; Emma Oulette, second base; Taylor Grambow, catcher; Alyx Bloom, outfield/pitcher; Shania Dunn outfield and Larisa Krueger, outfield.

Newcomers to the team this year are Kady Grambow, Jensine Boesl, Monica Miranda, Tia Dryden and foreign exchange student, Kanako Nakamoto who brings experience playing in Japan.  Olson states that all these girls will be instrumental to the team’s success.

Coach Olson feels that his team’s strength lies in its depth. “I believe we have some depth in many areas which is going to create competition. Competition is good when you work hard together and make each other better every day in practice.” He goes on to say that how we work and play as a team will be a big key to our success. ‘I like that we have experience back in some key areas, especially pitching.  I see us being a better hitting team than last year and that is exciting.”

As for weaknesses, Coach Olson stated that we still have a lot of question marks out there yet on defense but we have great potential.  “Ultimately, you have to be able to execute and play catch on defense if you want to win in this league.” And as for the competition this year, Olson thinks that Elk Mound, Glenwood City, Durand and Mondovi should have solid teams this year. “ I see all the teams being very competitive , which should make for an exciting year.”

The Lady Bulldogs will open their season at home on April 2nd with a game against Clayton at the Pafko Park Softball Field.

Roster

Seniors: McKenna Weber, Marissa Dormanen, Shania Dunn, Kylie Krueger.

Juniors: Alyx Bloom, Jaida Peterson, Amber Retzloff, Tia Dryden, Kanako Nakamoto.

Sophomores: Taylor Grambow, Tyra Kostman, Emma Bygd, Emma Oullette, Hannah Johnson, Larissa Krueger, Monica Miranda.

Freshmen: Kady Grambow, Jensine Boesl.