Elmwood/Plum City girls win opener 14-0 over Mondovi, good sign for another strong season
A 14-0 rout of Mondovi at Mondovi Thursday is a good sign the Elmwood/Plum City softball program will be back near the top of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference this season.
Shelby Hall was the winning pitcher. She held the Buffaloes to just one hit while striking out three. Hall, a sophomore, is one eight returning letter winners from last season's 16-5 squad which won the regional title and finished second in the D-SC behind Alma/Pepin.
Finding a new pitcher to replace first team All D-SC hurler McKayla Brunner is a top priority. Hall is one of several who can get the job done acocrding to head coach Becky Baier.
"Shelby, Liz Frederickson, Cheyanne Catura and Addie Welch will be our top four pitchers this season," Baier said. "Softball teams usually go with one pitcher and we did that with McKayla last season for the most part but with the potential of having to play a lot of doubleheaders this spring and the fact they all pitch well and have similar abilities means we'll have and need more pitching depth."
Brunner, second team All D-SC first baseman Krista Peterson and Shelby Kannel graduated from last season's team but eight returning letter winners demonstrate how important numbers and depth were to the success of last season's first season for EPC cooperative.
"With more numbers we had more competition for spots in the line-up which meant we put our best team out there in every game," Baier said. "And it meant we could allow our younger players to be able to play and develop by having a JV team."
While inexperienced at pitcher, the Wolves have plenty of experience at catcher with the return of Hoyt along with junior Rhiannon Kernstock. Returning infielders include sophomore Liz Fredrickson, senior Heidi Webb, who led EPC in hitting Thursday by going 3-for-3, and junior Taylor Chilson while in the outfield are returning starters include senior Danielle Martineau in right feld and sophomore Addie Morrell in center field. Filling out the infield are juniors Kaitlyn Sabelko and Jazmin Kannel.
Fredrickson, who is EPC's top returning hitter batting .323 last season, had to heal from a knee injury which kept her from playing volleyball and basketball this school year. She's more than ready for softball according to Baier.
"She's excited to be playing," Baier said. "The injury isn't holding her back in any way."
Baier foresees defending D-SC champ Alma/Pepin as the team to beat again in confrence play, along with Elk Mound and St. Croix Central.
"We can be up a the top of the standings again but it's going to take a lot of hard work, encouragement and dedication to the fundamentals of good softball," Baier said. "I don't have to worry about hard work with this team because this team's work ethic is very good and is going to point us in the right direction."
EPC will test Elk Mound on Monday in Elmwood. First pitch is at 4:30 p.m.