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Baier now back in charge of EHS softball

Members of the Elmwood High School Softball team are (First row, from left) Virginia Morgan, Amanda Brunner, Kelsey Leach, Nelly Karimova; (Second row) Krista Peterson, McKayla Brunner, Whitney Meyer, Kyler Doerr, Alysha Hoyt and Heidi Webb -- Photo by Sean Scallon

ELMWOOD - Baier is back.

Back in charge.

Former Elmwood High School softball head coach Becky Baier was tabbed to take over the retiring Kim Webb and lead the Raiders once again on the softball diamond.

"It feels, great, I'm excited for this opportunity," Baier said. "I never thought I would come back into coaching but now that I am I look forward to keeping Elmwood's tradition of great softball going strong."

Baier is certainly a part of the Raider tradition, having helped EHS win its last Dunn-St. Croix Conference title in 2001. She inherits a team which came close to winning the league last season but fell short with a 12-4 record, 13-6 overall. She also inherits a team which will be without four graduated seniors in All D-SC infielder Renee Lehmann, All D-SC outfielder Brittni Peterson, Mary Laube and Becky Wolf.

But the Raiders return their battery led by the league's top pitcher Kelsey Leach and catcher Amanda Brunner. Both seniors made the all-conference team last season.

"We have a very young team and they're a good portion of the experience we have," Baier said. "Kelsey's throwing the ball well and she has a lot of confidence. With Amanda we return one the best hitters in the league as well."

Baier isn't kidding when she talks about the team's youth. Brunner and Leach are the only seniors on the team and Virginia Morgan the lone junior. Sophomores McKayla Brunner and Krista Perterson are the only other two players with playing experience.

Even with an experienced pitcher and catcher, all the other position in the field are up in the air and the Raiders may struggle early on until they get up to game speed. So far EHS is 1-2 overall, 0-2 in the D-SC after dropping a pair of league games last week, 7-2 at home against Pepin and an 11-1 loss at Glenwood City after winning their opener 5-3 over Durand

"We're going to have to use a lot of positive reinforcement with this group," Baier said. "They're in the process of learning the high school game so there will be mistakes made along the way. But what we can't afford to lose in that process is their aggression and confidence. They have to play their mistakes until they can become more consistent."