Softball preview: Youth movementYounger players will have to step up because the Wingers' roster has just two seniors.
By: Eric Lear, The Republican Eagle
2010 recap: Red Wing lost 11 of its first 13 games to start the season and finished with a 7-14 record. The Wingers tied Hutchinson for the second to last spot in the Missota Conference.
The Wingers earned the fifth-seed in the Section 1AA West tournament, but fell in opening-round play to No. 4 Pine Island.
Tesha Buck: Even though she is only a sophomore, Tesha Buck has a great deal of varsity experience. She has played varsity softball since she was in seventh-grade.
"There's not probably a team in the state that doesn't know who she is," Red Wing coach Cheryl Borgen said.
The shortstop hit .412 last season and knocked in 14 runs, which tied Andrea Northey for the team high. Buck, who was named to the Pioneer Press honorable mention all-state team last year, also swiped a team-high eight bases.
The story lines
Youth movement: Only three starters return from last year's team -- Buck, Northey and Elle Anderson. Younger players will have to step up because the Wingers' roster has just two seniors.
"I think that maybe the first couple games might be a little tough so we can all get used to it, the younger girls especially," said Haley Kuhl, a freshman.
Junior center fielder Kayla Wallin and Northey both agreed that it might take some time for the younger members of the team to adapt to varsity competition.
"We're conscious about it," Northey said of the youthful roster. "I think it's in the back of everybody's mind but we don't think that we are going to do bad just because it's a young team."
Starting freshmen: Freshmen will be in the starting lineup at two key positions, Borgen said. Kuhl will start behind the plate while Hailee Johnson will start at first base.
"They are both physically really athletic girls and they're both really smart and now we just need to mature them as quickly as we possibly can," Borgen said.
As a catcher, Kuhl will have the added responsibilities of signal and play calling.
"I think it's a really great opportunity for me," Kuhl said. "I'm really excited and kind of nervous."
Last chance: After this season, Red Wing will move from Class AA to Class AAA.
"This is our last shot to do some damage in AA," Borgen said.
Red Wing and the Academy of Holy Angels are the lone Class AA schools in the Missota Conference. That makes for a tough schedule against bigger schools.
The Wingers haven't had a season with more than four conference victories since the 2005-06 season when they went 5-10 in the Missota.
If you go ...
Red Wing’s first game is 4:30 p.m. today at Northfield.