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City softball preview 4-6

MAYO

Head coach: Steve Riles, 18th season

Assistant coaches: Jeff Fague, Clint Thome, Stephanie Dodge.

Outlook: The youthful Spartans have just one senior on the roster and lost five starters from last year’s 10-13 team, 8-9 in the Big Nine.

Four starters return, including senior shortstop Katie Psimos, who is in the lineup for a fifth season.

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Second baseman Ashley Stanislawski and center fielder Carly Grassle, both juniors, started a year ago as did freshman third baseman Emma Leof. This year Leof moves to catcher.

"We do have a good nucleus of players with experience coming back," Mayo coach Steve Riles said.

Junior Leah Van Wettering takes over as Mayo’s pitcher. She pitched eight games a year ago, going 4-4 with an ERA around 2.00.

Another junior part-time starter a year ago was first baseman Amy Nelson, who is also the backup pitcher.

Juniors Bridget Amiot and Katie Garretson will also see playing time.

They are battling for starting jobs along with a trio of sophomores in Brittini Hoosier, Amelia Jojowka and Kaitlyn Harberts.

Freshman Sarah Bohlen is expected to start at either third or in the outfield, while eighth-grader Linsy Hoosie is also trying to earn a starting spot.

"We have been struggling with numbers for some time but it really caught up with us this year," Riles said.

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That youth may keep the Spartans from contending for a Big Nine title.

But Riles hopes the Spartans can be in the second tier of teams in the league.

"The Mankatos are looking really tough," Riles said. "After that there’s a number of solid teams."

ROSTER

Senior — Katie Psimos (SS). Juniors — Carly Grassle (OF), Ashley Stanislawski (2B), Amy Nelson (1B/P), Leah Van Wettering (P), Bridget Amiot (OF), Katie Garretson (IN). Sophomores — Brittini Hoosier (IN), Amelia Jojowka (OF), Kaitlyn Harberts (OF). Freshman — Emma Leof (3B/C), Sarah Bohlen (3B/OF/P). Eighth-grader — Linsy Hoosie (OF).

SCHEDULE

April 10 — Winona, 5 p.m.

April 12 — Faribault, 5 p.m.

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April 14 — at Century, 5 p.m.

April 17 — John Marshall, 5 p.m.

April 19 — at Mankato West, 5 p.m.

April 20-21 — at Austin invitational, 5:30 p.m., 10 a.m.

April 24 — Albert Lea, 5 p.m.

April 26 — Century, 5 p.m.

May 1— Austin (2), 4 p.m.

May 3 — at Winona, 5 p.m.

May 8 — at Faribault, 5 p.m.

May 10 — at Owatonna (2), 4 p.m.

May 15 — at John Marshall, 5 p.m.

May 18 — Mankato West, 4:30 p.m.

May 23 to June 1 — Section 1AAA tournament at Austin, TBA

June 8-9 — State tournament at Mankato, TBAJOHN MARSHALL

Head coach: Thang Nguyen, 6th season

Assistant coaches: Brendan Adams, Mike Breitbach.

Outlook: JMhas five experienced starters back, but they have a lot of offense to make up in the four departed starters.

"We lost four seniors who produced about 60 percent of our offense," coach Thang Nguyen said. "We have a lot of offense to make up."

The Rockets will rely on several key veterans. Shortstop Kristen Herges is back as a starter for the fourth year. Catcher Monica Walter and second baseman Alyssa Mackey are three-year starters and left fielder Amy Chang returns for a second year.

"We like our experience, especially up the middle we’re solid," Nguyen said. "But we’re young everywhere else."

Junior pitcher DeAnn Mock might be biggest key, however. The right-hander is back for a third year on the mound and was all-conference a year ago.

"Our strength is pitching and defense," Nguyen said. "You have to have a strong pitcher (to be successful) and we think she is one."

The Rockets will have to rely on several young starters, however. Freshman Kristen Thelen is slated to play first base. Sophomores Cali Lakin and Maly Schacht and freshman Michelle Amundson are all battling for starting spots in the outfield. And an underclassman will also play third base.

"We’re pretty new there. We’ll basically will have all ninth and 10th graders play the corners," Nguyen said.

Thang sees Mankato West as the team to beat in the Big Nine Conference. He lists a host of others to follow the Scarlets, including Mankato East, Austin, Owatonna, Faribault and the Rochester schools.

"We hope to be right up there, but the Big Nine is so tough," Thang said.

"Our goal every year is to go out, compete and play hard," he added.

ROSTER

Seniors — Alyssa Mackey (2B), Kristen Herges (SS), Monica Walter (C), Sarah Amundson (OF). Juniors — DeAnn Mock (P), Amy Chang (3B), Lisa Kingsley (OF), Wendy Bell (IN/P), Amanda Sinnwell (IN/P). Sophomores — Cali Lakin (OF), Maly Schacht (OF), Megan Sandmeyer (U), Jenna Gwaltney (IN). Freshman — Michelle Amundson (OF), Kristen Thelen (1B), Nicole Erickson (U).

SCHEDULE

April 11 — Century, 5 p.m.

April 12 — at Austin, 4 p.m.

April 14 — at Albert Lea (2), 4 p.m.

April 17 — at Mayo, 5 p.m.

April 19 — Faribault, 5 p.m.

April 21 — at Hastings invitational, 10 a.m.

April 24 — at Owatonna, 5 p.m.

April 26 — at Winona (2), 4 p.m.

May 1 — Mankato West (2), 4 p.m.

May 3 — at Century, 5 p.m.

May 8 — Austin, 5 p.m.

May 10 — Mankato East (2), 4 p.m.

May 15 — Mayo, 5 p.m.

May 18 — at Faribault, 5 p.m.

May 23 to June 1 — Section 1AAA tournament at Austin, TBA

June 8-9 — State tournament at Mankato, TBACENTURY

Head coach: Tim Strain, 9th season

Assistant coaches: Jean Roth, Katie Lenz, Rachel Svenningson.

Outlook: The Panthers graduated eight seniors from a team that went 7-15 overall last year, 6-11 in the Big Nine.

Coach Tim Strain faces uncertainty in the lineup with just two regular starters back they both may see position shifts. Chelsey Nelson is moving from catcher to third base while Steph Klein, a starting first baseman last spring, will also pitch this spring. Sophomore Breanna Bjerke started in the outfield at the end of the year and will be moving to shortstop.

"We have a lot of positions to be won over the course of the spring," Strain said. "Our playoff lineup could look quite different than our opening day lineup."

Klein, Alexis Swanton and Ana Lindahl, a transfer from Lourdes, will be battling for time on the mound. Ashli Donovan can also pitch, but will probably win a starting job in the field. The catching situation is up in the air with Liz Christensen, Kristen Holets, Ashley Prow and sophomore Katie Zimny battling for that spot.

Seniors Laura Imming and Sarah Anderson will compete for the second base and first base job. The outfield will contain three new starters and Strain said several players are still competing to win the starting jobs.

"I believe we will be able to generate some offense, and I have confidence in our pitchers to throw strikes and keep the ball in play," Strain said. "One of our weaknesses may be the fact that girls are playing some new positions, and there will be a longer learning curve than in the past."

The Panthers don’t figure to be a contender for the Big Nine title with Mankato West and East featuring strong squads. But Century could be in the middle tier of teams in the league.

ROSTER

Seniors — Chelsey Nelson (3B), Alexis Swanton (P), Laura Imming (2B), Sarah Anderson (1B), Liz Christensen (C). Juniors — Hannah Crowson (OF), Kristen Holets (C), Ashli Donovan (2B/P), Stephanie Klein (1B/P), Angela Nelson (3B), Ashley Prow (1B/C), Kelsey Hoffman (SS), Alyssa Olson (OF), Cameron Hoffman (2B), Ana Lindahl (P/1B). Sophomores — Breanna Bjerke (SS), Lindsey Mills (OF), Katie Zimny (C/1B).

SCHEDULE

April 10 — at John Marshall, 5 p.m.

April 12 — Mankato West, 5 p.m.

April 14 — Mayo, noon

April 16 — Red Wing, 5 p.m.

April 17 — at Winona, 5 p.m.

April 19 — Austin, 5 p.m.

April 21 — Owatonna (2), noon

April 24 — at Mankato East, 5 p.m.

April 26 — at Mayo, 5 p.m.

April 28 — at Hopkins, 10 a.m.

May 1— at Faribault (2), 4 p.m.

May 3 — John Marshall, 5 p.m.

May 8 — at Mankato West, 5 p.m.

May 10 — at Albert Lea (2), 4 p.m.

May 14 — St. Charles, 5 p.m.

May 15 — Winona, 5 p.m.

May 17 — at Austin, 5 p.m.

May 23 to June 1 — Section 1AAA tournament at Austin, TBA

June 8-9 — State tournament at Mankato, TBALOURDES

Head coach: Darwin "Doc" Johnson, 4th season

Assistant coaches: Nicole Vadnais, Jamie Johnson.

Outlook: The Eagles have four starters back from last year’s 11-9 team, including a 7-4 mark in the Hiawatha Valley League. The highlight for Lourdes was a 10-game winning streak.

The four starters back, all seniors, are catcher/shortstop Gretchen Leyendecker (.424 batting average in 2006), infielder/DH Amber Frie (.326), shortstop/outfielder Anna Canfield (.277) and third baseman/outfielder Amanda DuShane (.263).

"With only four starters returning we will need to count on a group of inexperienced varsity players," Lourdes coach Doc Johnson said. "All the girls have worked extremely hard this spring and I look for them to be very competitive once we get into the season."

Junior Lindsay Frie will handle the pitching duties. She was 3-4 last spring.

Johnson said a host of newcomers will see action. Players who could step into the starting lineup include Kelli Geisler, Courtney Miller, Sarah Rossman, Lizzy Wolk, Kristie Mueller and Audrey Wenner. Other who should see plenty of action are Mariah Boland, Melissa Price, Laura Melquist and Angela Zappa.

"Success in the win-loss column will depend how long it will take the team to jell since we will be adding five new starters," Johnson said.

Johnson said he wants the Eagles to "show steady improvement, become consistent performers and to be as competitive as possible."

Johnson sees Winona Cotter as the team to beat in the HVL as well as in section play. He said Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Pine Island should also be solid.

"The HVL is a consistently tough conference to compete in, but our goal is to keep heading towards the top and improve upon last year’s record," Johnson said.

ROSTER

Seniors — Angela Zappa (OF), Anna Canfield (SS/OF), Amber Frie (IN/DH), Amanda DuShane (3B/LF), Kelly Geisler (RF), Gretchen Leyendecker (C/SS). Juniors — Lindsey Frie (P), Mariah Boland (3B), Courtney Miller (1B/C/P), Melissa Price (IN), Sarah Rossman (2B), Audrey Wenner (OF). Sophomores — Kristie Mueller (LF/IN), Lizzy Wolk (C/3B/P). Freshman — Laura Melquist (1B/P).

SCHEDULE

April 10 — at Kenyon-Wanamingo, 5 p.m.

April 12 — Cannon Falls, 5 p.m.

April 14 — at Faribault Bethlehem Academy Invitational, 11 a.m.

April 17 — at Hayfield, 5 p.m.

April 19 — Triton, 5 p.m.

April 24 — at Lake City, 5 p.m.

April 26 — at Kasson-Mantorville, 5 p.m.

April 30 — Pine Island, 5 p.m.

May 3 — Byron, 5 p.m.

May 5 — Southland (2), 11 a.m.

May 8 — Winona Cotter, 5 p.m.

May 10 — Kingsland, 5 p.m.

May 11 — at Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 5 p.m.

May 15 — Stewartville, 5 p.m.

May 17 — Subsection, TBA

June 8-9 — State tournament at Mankato, TBA

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