Chanhassen won a state championship, played in two other state tournaments, and has been in the running most years to represent Section 2-4A at Caswell Park.

But with the graduation of the Class of 2020, the Storm softball team certainly looks different this spring.

Senior center fielder Daisy Lang and junior pitch Sydney Schwartz are the only returning starters from two years ago. Senior right fielder Bella Plath has the next-most varsity experience, primarily as a pinch runner.

That means leadership is more important than any other time as the Storm start two eighth graders and two sophomores.

"Our focus is building a positive environment. We knew from the start we were going to be young, so when we have rough games like St. Michael-Albertville and (Bloomington) Jefferson, we say that's our learning curve. It's about making sure we're getting better every day. It's about building confidence in each of these girls, and ourselves," Lang said.

Leadership isn't just a voice. It is actions. Lang, an accomplished swimmer as well, shows that in how she plays. Whether it was laying out for a diving catch on a low line drive, or making a hook slide in an attempt to score a run, Lang's efforts were noticed in a 7-1 win over Chaska on April 30.

The 11th consecutive victory for the Storm over the Hawks dating back to the 2014 season.

Chanhassen is now 14-6 all-time versus Chaska. In those 20 meetings, the Storm have scored 147 runs to 82 from Chaska.

It was one of those eighth graders, Susie Tollefson, who had the starring bat for Chanhassen in the win. A single in the first inning, Tollefson led off the third inning with a double, part of a 3-run frame that included a Lang RBI-sacrifice fly and a Karina Tollberg 2-run single.

Tollefson made it 4-0 one inning later on her first career home run before just missing the cycle with a second double of the game. Four-for-four, three runs scored.

"We laugh about it because (Susie) has every single mannerism that her sister, Tori, did. The way she runs, the way she throws, everything. She keeps her head up, good or bad, and goes after each pitch with so much confidence. She deserves every bit of this success because she works her butt off every day," Lang said.

Schwartz collected an RBI-single in the seventh inning to plate Tollefson before senior Grace Clausen put the exclamation point on the win with a two-run double.

After an infield single to start the game, Schwartz surrendered just two more base runner on a walk and hit-by-pitch, finishing with 12 strikeouts in a 93-pitch complete game.

Chaska's lone run came in the final at-bats, Ally Florek reaching base the hard way, a pitch hitting the back of her arm. She remained in the game, scoring from first base on a fielder's choice, alertly taking unoccupied third base with the errant throw allowing her to score.

Kendall Karrmann gave up 10 hits with one strikeouts in seven innings of work for Chaska.

Chanhassen is 7-2 heading into a three-game week with Benilde-St. Margaret (May 3), Buffalo (May 4) and Robbinsdale Cooper (May 7).

"We always say you play better when you feel better about yourself, so that's our focus. I have two new outfielders out there with me, so we're communicating between every pitch. We're cheering each other on, bringing each other up," Lang said.

Chaska, which has dropped two straight after a six-game win streak, looks to get back on track at Robbinsdale Cooper on May 3.

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