The high school softball season made its much-anticipated return last month after nearly a two-year absence, and local stars are shining like it never really left. Let's count down the Top 10 performances we've seen in local high school softball throughout the first month of the 2021 season.

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No. 1 Maddie Cocker, Byron

The Byron junior wasted no time getting in the record books. In just the second game of the season, Cocker struck out 16 Stewartville Tigers in the Bears' 8-0 victory on April 20. Yeah, that will play. Byron will win plenty of games if Cocker is fanning batters at that rate.

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No. 2 Abby Miles, John Marshall

Miles broke the John Marshall career record for homers, and she did it with a bang. She crushed three bombs in JM's 13-3 win over St. Paul Central on April 24. She finished the game with five RBIs and it was her sixth homer in the first seven games. Stud.

3. Kaylee Peter, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

Have a day, Kaylee Peter. She went 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple and three RBIs in P-E-M's 9-1 win over Rushford-Peterson on April 27. Oh, and she pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, allowing just one run and striking out 10. Even more impressive was the fact that she didn't walk a batter in the game.

4. Dezirae Dotterwick, John Marshall

Is something in the water at John Marshall? Because they have been hitting some bombs in the early stretch of the season. Dotterwick went off for three homers in a 21-3 win over Albert Lea on April 23. She finished 4-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs scored in the game.

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5. Morgyn Otte, Randolph

Otte is a two-way star for the Rockets, and she used her arm to strike out 15 and her bat to drive in two key runs and finish 2-for-5 in Randolph's 6-5 win over W-E-M on April 24.

6. Avery Steffen, Zumbrota-Mazeppa

Steffen pounded out four hits, including a double and a home run in Zumbrota-Mazeppa's 10-2 win over Ellsworth (Wis.) High School on April 27. And then she pitched an absolute gem too, allowing just one earned run and fanning nine in the complete-game effort.

7. Tiegan Mancuso, Mayo

Mancuso had a huge day at the plate to lead Mayo past Austin 14-4 in six innings on April 23. Mancuso went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs. She also scored three runs and stole one base, in case that wasn't enough of a performance.

8. Olivia Funk, Lewiston-Altura

Lewiston-Altura survived a barn-burner against St. Paul Central at the Lourdes Invitational on April 24 and it was in large part due to Funk. She homered and finished with three hits and also struck out 10.

9. Catiera Thome, Kasson-Mantorville

Is Catiera related to Jim Thome? Might have to hire an investigative journalist to take on the case. She sure swings the bat like Thome. She went 3-for-4 with a single, triple and a home run in Kasson-Mantorville's 18-2 win over Triton on April 23. She was a double away from hitting for the cycle.

10. Kenidi McCabe, Mabel-Canton

McCabe was unstoppable at the plate on April 23 against Southland. She went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. The Cougars' multi-sport start scored twice and stole two bases in Mabel-Canton's 15-1 win over the Rebels. That's a pretty good day at the office.