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By Amber Hayden
GLENWOOD CITY — With the loss of five players due to graduation, the Glenwood City girls’ softball team is left with its pitcher, catcher and left fielder returning from the 2018 season.
“Those five seniors had the experience, leadership, work ethic and a desire to win that will need to be picked up by those replacing them,” said Toppers head coach Matthew Schutz, in his second year back at Glenwood City since 2015.
Three of the seniors from the 2018 team, Jenesa Klinger, Mariah Voeltz and Emily Hill, had played a majority of their time on the varsity squad since their sophomore year, explained Schutz; and helped the Hilltoppers to 12-8 overall record last season including a 7-2 finish in the Dunn-St. Croix – good for a three-way tie for second place with Elk Mound and Boyceville.
Hill led the Toppers’ offense a year ago with 26 hits, including seven for extra bases, a .406 batting average and tallied 20 RBIs (Runs-Batted-In). In Voeltz’ 77 plate appearances last season, she finished with a .306 batting average collected 22 hits (six for extra bases) and 12 RBIs along with eight stolen bases. Klinger had a .464 on-base percentage for the Toppers and a .667 fielding percentage when at first or third, and 14 hits.
Klinger and Hill were both selected to the conference’s all-conference squads.
One of the top returners for Glenwood City in 2019 will be senior hurler Maggie Wallin, who struck out 129 batters in her 17 games she started last season and finished with a record of 11 wins and five losses. Wallin averaged only 1.35 walks or hits per inning and compiled a 2.89 ERA (Earned Run Average). She was Glenwood City’s only first-team, all-conference selection last year.
“Maggie Wallin has led the D-SC in total strikeouts the last two seasons and had the lowest ERA last year,” Schutz explained.
Backing up Wallin on the mound will be sophomore Maddie Oehlke, who made seven game appearances last year. Oehlke threw 26 and two-thirds inning last season and had an ERA of 3.94. She also finished fifth on the team in hits with 18. When she is not on the mound, Oehlke will be playing in center field.
The pitching duo of Wallin and Oehlke was arguably one of the best in the conference last season.
Another key returnee for the Toppers is sophomore Delanie Fayerweather, a second-team, all-conference catcher, with a .373 batting average in her 72 plate appearances with 22 hits (tied for second on the team). Fayerweather has a year under her belt with Wallin and Oehlke.
“She knows how they both tick on the mound,” said Schutz of Fayerweather. “She also has one of the best arms that can throw runners out on the bags.”
Other returning players include senior Alexys Curvello in right field and Bella Lawson.
The strength this season for Glenwood City will be in pitching and catching, said Schutz.
But with every season comes a weakness and for the Hilltoppers it is the lack of varsity experience both on the field and at bat. According to Schutz, the newcomers will have big shoes to fill and will need to grow up quickly.
The coaching staff for Glenwood City believe the top competitors from the Dunn-St. Croix will be defending conference champion Pepin/Alma along with Elk Mound and Elmwood/Plum City, who will combine this season and return a majority of their separate squads from the 2018 season.
“Pepin/Alma will be solid all-around, while Elk Mound and and EPC each have a strong pitcher returning from last season,” said Schutz.
The Glenwood City Hilltoppers will begin their season, weather permitting, this Thursday, March 28, with a home game against Saint Croix Central and will then host Prescott on Monday, April 1 followed by the conference opener next Tuesday, April 2, in Mondovi.
Seniors: Anna Brigham, Kennedy Miller, Ashlee Peterson, Allexis Rassbach, Maggie Wallin and Alexys Curvello.
Juniors: Bella Lawson, Logan Hoitomt, Kaitlin Lee and Kassidi Thompson.
Sophomores: Maddie Oehlke, Hailey Schmidt, Matiya Klinger and Delanie Fayerweather.
Freshmen: Morgan Johnson, Kendall Schutz, Payten Knops and Emma Lamb.