by Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
The defending state champion Elk River Elks are not the only softball team in District 728 anticipating a strong 2014 season.
The Elks return all but two starters from the unranked team that captured the Class 3A title last June. Unlike the Elks 2009 state champion team that graduated heavily, the current Elks have the big target on their backs.
At Rogers, Katelyn Kemmetmueller posted a 1.47 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 109 innings as a freshman and was named Mississippi 8 pitcher of the year. The Royals have four all-conference players back: Kemmetmueller, outfielders Madi Anderson (.417, 19 runs) and Olivia Olson (.406, 14 steals) and infielder Ellie Anderson (.358, 13 RBIs).
“We lost only one senior who played part time, and we have gained another pitcher,” coach Jerry Bruns said, referring to his freshman daughter Melea, younger sibling of Elk standouts Moriah (2011 graduate) and Michaela. “If we have another late start this spring (with games bunched up), it will give us an edge to have two good pitchers.”
Coach Bruns added that it’s still a young team with a core of sophomores and just one senior, Madi Anderson. “We expect a good season, although we’ve got Maple Grove in our section,” Bruns said.
Maple Grove is wary of the Royals, Maple Grove coach Jim Koltes said.
“Rogers is up and coming, and they had a nice section run last year,” Koltes said. “I saw them in an early scrimmage fest and they look like this could be their breakout year.”