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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — With two players out with ACL injuries – Tyra Kostman and Taylor Grambow, Boyceville head softball coach Jamie Olson, starting his tenth year, will need to turn to other players for help.
The loss of Kostman and Grambow hits Boyceville hard.
As the Bulldogs’ top pitcher last season, Kostman threw all but a few outings for Boyceville a year ago and was responsible for all ten of the team’s victories in its shortened 14-game schedule. Kostman pitched 93 and a third of the Bulldogs 94 innings and finished with 77 strike outs and a 3.23 ERA. She also had a .372 batting average and finished with the second most hits on the team with 16, tied with Kylie Krueger.
Grambow had a .261 batting average in her nine games played and was on the receiving end of Kostman’s throw at the catcher’s position.
In addition, Boyceville lost the services of last season’s starters Marissa Dormanen, McKenna Weber and Kylie Krueger through graduation. The trio along with Kostman provided the bulk of the Bulldogs’ offensive hits with Dormanen leading the way with 20 hits including eight doubles while Krueger had five doubles and a triple and Weber provided three doubles and a triple among her 13 hits.
Returning outfielders Amber Retzloff and Jaida Peterson take up their duties in the outfield and held .295 and .221 batting averages respectively for the Bulldogs last season. The duo along with infielders Emma Ouellette (second base, .265 avg.) and Hannah Johnson (SS/P with a .255 avg.) will be counted on to pick up the offensive slack.
“These four girls are very athletic and need to step up and be great leaders on and off the field,” explained Olson.
Three players will have critical roles in the Bulldogs success – Alyx Bloom at left field, Tia Dryden at first base and Emma Bygd in the infield.
Juniors Monica Miranda and Larissa Krueger will step up to help in the outfield, sophomores Kady Grambow, Jensine Boesl and Mya Lagerstrom will work the infield and outfield for Boyceville and freshmen Harper Olson, Ella Holden, Libby Bygd and Madison Andrews will all compete for varsity time in the infielder positions.
“We lost six starters, so girls need to step up and fill some big holes especially catcher, pitcher and shortstop,” explained Olson. “We have some young talent that will have to grow up fast to compete in this tough conference.”
Elk Mound, Glenwood City and Pepin/Alma look to be the favorites in the Dunn-St. Croix with Elmwood and Colfax also solid teams, according to Olson. He believes the Bulldogs fit in with the second tier teams.
Boyceville finished 7-2 last season in the Dunn-St. Croix and in a three-way tie for second place with Glenwood City and Elk Mound.
“Losing Tyra and Taylor really hurt, along with a solid group of seniors,” stated Olson. “Our expectations and goals are set high, everyone is looking forward to getting on the field.”
Weather permitting, the Bulldogs will open up their regular season with an away game this Thursday, March 28, against Clayton/Turtle Lake, with a game the following evening, March 29, at home against the Cameron Comets.
Seniors: Alyx Bloom, Yaiza Granda Campos, Tia Dryden, Jaida Peterson and Amber Retzloff,
Juniors: Emma Bygd, Taylor Grambow, Hannah Johnson, Tyra Kostman, Larissa Krueger, Monica Miranda and Emma Ouellette.
Sophomores: Jensine Boesl, Kady Grambow and Mya Lagerstrom.
Freshmen: Madison Andrews, Libby Bygd, Ella Holden and Harper Olson.