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Tiger softball team is up to the challenge

Coach Mary Holmberg said the biggest challenge facing the Morris Area softball team this season could be finding dry fields to play the game.

Holmberg starts her 28th season as head coach of the Tigers.

The Tigers are coming off a 3-18 season when they lost a lot of close games.

With only three wins last season, the Tigers are determined to improve.

"We played really well at the end of the season and that's very promising," said Holmberg. "I think we ended last season on a high note and hopefully that will carry over."

Losing only two players to graduation, Megan Brandt and Whitney Riley, the Tigers have an experienced infield returning.

"I think we have a lot of young talent on this team," Holmberg said.

Senior Jen Storck will be back behind home plate catching for the Tigers. She will also be doing some work in the outfield. Storck received an Honorable Mention in the West Central Conference South last season.

Juniors Sara Beyer and Kelsey Amundson will be handling the pitching duties for the Tigers.

"Sara and Kelsey have shown some consistency pitching in the gym," said Holmberg "Hopefully that will carry over outside."

When not pitching, Beyer will be covering first base.

"We have a solid infield returning with a year of experience," said Holmberg.

Junior Alisha Roske will be at first when Beyer is on the mound. Roske is also expected to DH and play some outfield.

Junior Heather Gagner will be at second. She is also helping in the outfield.

Senior Adrienne Gahm can cover any of the bases. She'll play wherever needed.

Playing short stop is Mary Rentz, who was named to the West Central Conference South team last season.

New to the infield this season is freshman Dani Schultz. She'll be the Tigers' back-up catcher and will also help out on third base.

In the outfield are senior Britney Greenwaldt and juniors Alissa Melberg and Brianna Neuman.

Senior Katie VanKempen will be in center field.

Helping in the outfield will be freshman Shadow Olson.

Holmberg's assistant coach is Mary Asche. Sharon Martin will be coaching the eighth grade again this year, along with Tim Brooks coaching seventh grade.

The team will be playing some double headers to fit in all the postponed games. Holmberg said having two pitchers that can throw strikes will be an advantage in those situations.

The Tigers are still in the West Central Conference South. This year Minnewaska Area joins the conference. Holmberg said that along with the Lakers, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Benson/Hancock will be tough opponents this season.

"It's a tough conference," she said. "We're all in contention for the title."

The Tigers are part of a new section this year with the move to class A.

"That will present some new challenges for us," said Holmberg.

Familiar teams in Section 3A include Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Dawson-Boyd, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, MACCRAY, Ortonville, and Wheaton. But with a section that extends to the Iowa border some new teams will include Adrian/Ellsworth, Central Minnesota Christian, Edgerton, Lakview, Murray County Central, Renville County West, Round Lake/Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Wabasso, and Windom.