Softball needs to find pitching to build on last year's improvement

This article submitted by Jenny Habben on 4/04/01.

As the month of April begins and the snow melts, the Paynesville Bulldog softball team hopes to get outside for practice and games.

The Bulldogs were supposed to have games against Kimball and New London-Spicer this week; however, the games were cancelled due to the snow. The Kimball game has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 3.

Junior Laurie Barten said, "Evryone is real excited about getting outside. We can't wait to start playing on the field again."

Coach Tim Woehler, who is in his second year as the head coach, said that he expects the Bulldogs to improve from last year and to be better both offensively and defensively. The team improved a lot last year and hopes to keep it up.

The softball team has five returning varsity players from last year: senior Melody Veldkamp and juniors Barten, Lisa Hemingson, Kellie Heinen, and Jenny Habben.

Veldkamp is the only senior on the team. Other juniors on the varsity this year are Amy Buermann, Jen Bruntlett, Kayla Flanders, and Christina Hittle. Sophomore Ann Stalboerger will also be playing on the varsity team.

The big question this season will be the Bulldogs' pitching. Kelly Loesch and Jessica Louis, last year's pitchers, both graduated.

Woehler plans to have Hemingson, Habben, Roos, and Heinen share the pitching duties in the first three to four games before settling on a number one and number two pitcher. None of these girls has any varsity pitching experience.

"We will take our lumps here and there, but we'll be okay and hopefully peak at tournament time," replied Woehler when asked his thoughts on the up-coming season.

Woehler also went on to say that the team has good work ethic and attitude. The hardest thing to overcome this season will be the inexprience on the team.

The Bulldogs had a record of 4-13 last season. They had wins over BBE, NLS, ACGC, and Sauk Centre.

Woehler believes that Sauk Centre and Litchfield will be the conference favorites because they are the only teams that have experienced pitchers coming back.

The varsity team will again be playing home games on the east field, next to the Chladek Addition, and the junior varsity will be playing on the west field, closer to the high school parking lot.

Dawn Knoll is back for her second year as the junior varsity coach. Laurie Nepsund also returns to coach the seventh grade team, and new this year is the eighth grade coach, Todd Theisen.

The Bulldogs have two games scheduled for next week. They will be hosting BBE next Monday, April 9. They will also be hosting Holdingford on Thursday, April 12, if the weather and field permit.

Check the school's activities line at 320-243-4058 for up-to-date information on the spring schedule.

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