Team: Mayer Lutheran softball
Coach: Dan Young
Assistant coaches: Mark Hill and Sean Peters
Captains: Krianna Boelke and Josie Peters
Conference: Minnesota River
Section: 2A – 19 teams including Mankato Loyola, New Ulm Cathedral, Sleepy Eye, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity, and Cleveland
2012 finish: Last year was hard for the LHS girls, finishing just 2-20, with wins over Bethany Academy and Cleveland bookending a 16-game losing streak. The Crusaders also finished last in the conference with an 0-14 record. During the season, LHS was shut out six times, while five game were called after five innings.
Key losses: The Crusaders graduated five seniors, nearly half of their team, including Sarah Buttenhoff, Morgan Hensel, Liezel Hove, Hannah Kuntz, and Megan Strehlke.
Key returnees: Back for Mayer Lutheran is All-Conference shortstop Josie Peters, along with catcher Krianna Boelke, outfielder Liz Pawelk, center fielder Cailey Benkowski, and first baseman Kim Hafemann.
Newcomers: There are many fresh, young faces on this year’s LHS squad, including Lauren Zellmann, Kalie Winter, Rachel Zittergruen, Lori Zacharias, Laura Welk, Mackenzie Thiesfeld, Rebecca Gaida, Jenna Zellmann, Samantha Klatt, Amanda Trost, and Madeline Miller.
This season, Young said he will rely on Zittergruen, Hafemann, Peters, Winters, and Klatt to lead the team on the pitcher’s mound. The Crusaders are still forming a batting order.
Teams to beat/Goals: After last season’s poor record, there’s no where to go but up for the 2013 Crusaders. Young hopes to finish the season with at least 50 percent wins.
“Our goal to be competitive and learn the game,” he said. “If we win 50 percent, I’ll be happy.”
With many players who are returning to the sport after years away, Young certainly faces a challenge in his first year as coach. Young himself is new to the sport, as he has coached baseball in the past, but never softball. He currently teaches at St. John’s in NYA.
Most of all, and cliche as it sounds, Young just wants the team to have fun this season.
First games: The Crusaders first two games have already been rescheduled due to the frozen fields. As of April 1, the season is scheduled to begin on April 8 when the Crusaders host Southwest Christian. LHS will be at LeSueur-Henderson on April 9, before a string of home games against Sibley East (April 11), Watertown-Mayer (April 16), and Tri-City United (April 18).
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com