Key returning athletes from 2019: seniors Emma Harr (left field), Medora Rylee (catcher), Sydney Huwe (shortstop), juniors Kendall Karrmann (pitcher/first base) and Ally Florek (third base).
Other upperclassman that are expected to contribute greatly are: Payton Nicholas (second base), Maddie Oberpriller (utility), Lindsey Dolan (right field/first base) and Maria Aberle (pitcher/right field). Captains are Harr, Rylee, Huwe, and Florek. "We expect a lot of our captains and they all are great leaders," Chaska coach Gary Meister said.
As a coach, what was it like missing a year? And how did it feel those first few practices? "Missing a year was really hard. The first few practices were especially hard because of all the COVID rules and guidelines. The coaching staff is very excited about the 55 players that are out for Chaska High School Softball and we will field four teams: V, JV, B, & C. This year and future years look extremely promising. All teams should have strong hitting and great defense, including pitching," Meister said.
Team goals for 2021: "Our team goal for varsity is to be extremely competitive in all games we play. We plan on improving every week and peaking in sections in early June," Meister said.
New coach: Pam schmidt is the interim head softball coach at Southwest Christian. She will lean on senior team captains Elli Larson and Julia Brouwer, both outfielders who bring two years of experience to the team. Other key players are sophomores Sonya Nutcher, who is a pitcher and infielder and catcher Ainsley Phillips.
"Sonya and Ainsley will also be key hitters for our team, with Sonya going 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored in our first outing versus Holy Family Catholic," Schmidt said.
As a coach, what was it like missing a year? And how did it feel those first few practices? "It was unfortunate to have missed last year's season, because Heidi Larkin had been poised to coach the team that had several key returning seniors. This year Coach Larkin has moved on to assistant coach girls lacrosse and so is not available for softball," Coach Schmidt said.
"The first few practices were challenging and in our first three weeks we've had coaches and players out due to COVID quarantines. In addition, as of April 13 we still have not been able to practice on a softball diamond due to weather and field conditions."
Team goals for 2021: "This year is a rebuilding year for Southwest, with 11 of our 14 players in eighth through 10th grades. As such our goals are to develop defensive and base running instincts and to improve as hitters by focusing on making contact," Schmidt added.
Key returners from 2019: senior pitcher Molly Oehme. "Molly will be anchoring the pitching staff. She is our captain, and her leadership is invaluable." Senior catcher Abby Gabler. "Excellent game knowledge and communication skills." Senior outfielder Anne Tammearu "leads the outfielders; lots of positive energy," quotes by Skipper coach Mary Beth Wiig.
As a coach, what was it like missing a year? And how did it feel those first few practices? "It was difficult to miss last season and it was hard to evaluate players this year because we didn't have any game information from last season," Wiig said. "The players are so excited to play again that it has been fun to practice and prepare building a team from the ground up. Our varsity team is a mix of grades this year and we feel that we have talent, but we just need to figure out the strongest positions for the players on the field."
Team goals for 2021: "Our team goals are to improve with each game and practice and to compete for the Lake Conference title," the Skippers coach said.
HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC
Key returners from 2019: captains senior Katherine Wise and junior Sophia Mackey. "They are great leaders and will be a big part of the program this season. Katherine is in her fifth year playing second base on varsity," Fire coach Dan Schneider said.
Mackey and fellow junior Molly O'Connor will be key in the outfield, while eight of the 11 team members are underclassmen. Sophomores Melanie Stewart-Hester, Ava Mettler, Jaiden Lindemann, Sydney Hickey, and Meg Folkens will all get a shot at playing time.
Phoebe Johnson and Tamara Mackey, both freshman, will toe the rubber in the pitcher's circle. Another freshman, Lauren Weigel, plays first base and will leadoff in the batting order.
As a coach, what was it like missing a year? And how did it feel those first few practices? "It was a major disappointment the season did not take place last year," Schneider said. "The first few practices were great; it was fun to see the girls throwing, hitting and enjoying being together as a team."
Team goals for 2021: "Being competitive in the conference; advance farther into sections than we have in the past," said Schneider.