Softball: Red Wing softball aims to improveAfter a 4-16 season last year the Red Wing softball team is ready to leave it behind and focus on improving.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
After a 4-16 season last year the Red Wing softball team is ready to leave it behind and focus on improving.
The Wingers struggled with their fielding last season and allowed one mistake to compound with another. With the weather complying early this year, Red Wing has gotten in more fielding work than years past and that will aid the team as it seeks improvement in that area.
“We gave up the big inning a lot,” Cheryl Borgen, who enters her eighth season as head coach, said. “We could be in the game every other way. Our pitching would be going and our hitting would be good and then we’d have defensive mistakes. It wasn’t uncommon for us to see five or six errors a game. I think the more the errors built up the less assertive we got. We just didn’t make plays. We weren’t making routine plays.”
That defense expects to be better with the left side of the infield being handled by three-year starters Elle Anderson at third base and Tesha Buck at shortstop. But the outfield is where the Wingers struggled the most, missing cutoffs and making inaccurate throws last season.
“They see the mistakes we made last season and they don’t want to repeat those,” Borgen said.
Mary Bender, Hannah Walch, Kelsey Bystrom and Kayla Wallin will fill the outfield roles this season and all return with some varsity experience, Borgen said.
Red Wing has just 10 players on the varsity squad this season nearly every player will be expected to play all the games.
The injury bug has already affected Red Wing with starting catcher Hailey Kuhl out with a knee injury. Kuhl missed all but one game last season with a back injury and the team turned to Kelsey Reding. But after a suffering a broken tibia last year Reding will not return to the catcher position.
Instead the Wingers will turn to freshman Makaela Egan to catch. Egan will be catching junior Laura Chalmers this season.
Chalmers will begin her first season of starting after Red Wing graduated Andrea Northey.
“Laura Chalmers is definitely going to anchor us this season,” Borgen said. “We expect her to get the bulk of the innings. She’s got some nice movement on her pitches. She’s worked real hard in the offseason.”
The Wingers will have offense back this season with Buck.
Buck set school records in doubles, home runs and batting average last season as she finished with a .509 average, hit five home runs and had nine doubles. Buck holds the school record for career hits, doubles, home runs and batting average already.
In addition to Buck, Red Wing will rely upon Anderson near the top of the order and Chalmers in the heart of the order.
“We never found a consistent strength through our lineup and I think we have a lot better shot at that this season,” Borgen said.
Borgen believes that things will come together as the season progresses this year.
“If we just keep working on the communication and playing together everything else is going to fall into place,” she said. “These are kids that are skilled. We were skilled last year.”