BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
This is a good year to have a Rockford softball team loaded with experienced players and many pitchers since weather has limited practice time and messed up the schedule.
“We are very excited for this season,” said coach Dawn Engebretson. “We have a lot of talent returning from last year as well as some new talent added to the mix.”
Engebretson said one of the most exciting things about this year is having nine pitchers on varsity and junior varsity.
“They all are quality pitchers, which gives us a lot of flexibility,” adds the coach. “It will probably help us out this season as it looks like our first few games will have to be rescheduled due to snow. We will probably be playing four to five games some weeks if this keeps up.”
Captains are senior pitcher Lexi Majeski and senior Ashley Dick at second base. Majeski has pitched on varsity since ninth grade. Senior Katelynn Pedersen has played on varsity since eighth grade. She returns to play at third base. Also back is senior catcher Amanda Thingvold.
Top juniors back include catcher Megan Bode and Megan Westrup at first base. Sophomores who contributed in varsity last year are shortstop Brianna Calder and ninth grade pitcher Bria Majeski.
Newcomers include senior Madison Read (outfield); juniors Kaylee Schumacher (outfield) and Courtney Schmidt (first base/outfield), plus ninth-grader Hannah Carlson (outfield/pitcher).
“It is fun to have a good size senior class,” says Engebretson. “Two years ago we had no seniors and last year we had three. This group of seniors has a lot of experience playing softball and they are very excited to put together a good season.”
Top teams in our Central Minnesota Conference are Maple Lake and Eden Valley-Watkins, which went to the state tournament last year.
“Our section is going to be really exciting,” adds the coach. “Last year there were a lot of teams with young players that did very well such as Becker, Delano, Annandale, Watertown-Mayer and Mound-Westonka, which went to state. With another year of experience, it will be the team that gets hot at the right time that will be tough to beat.”
Last season, the Rockets finished the regular season at 12-6 to earn the No. 4 section seed, but lost to Delano 4-1 in the second round.
Calder led the offense with a .395 batting average and she had 12 runs batted in. Dick batted .389 with 11 RBIs. Both Calder and Dick had 28 hits. Westrup hit .316 with 18 hits.
Rockford was scheduled to open at Cambridge-Isanti, but the game has been re-scheduled to May 3. The next scheduled game is at home against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11. The Rockets will play at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Friday, April 12.