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Tiger softball team brings experience to the mound

The Morris Area softball team will bring much experience to the fields, as soon as the weather permits.

The Tigers were scheduled to begin the season on April 4 against Paynesville, but that game had to be postponed.

In 2008, the Tigers finished the season 11-11 overall. That team won the Silver Award on the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches' Association's list of State Academic Teams.

Returning starters and letter winners include five seniors, Sara Beyer, Heather Gagner, Brianna Neuman, Alissa Melberg, and Kelsey Amundson. Junior Mary Rentz and sophomore Dani Schultz are also returning.

"One key strength for us this year is our pitching," said coach Mary Holmberg.

Returning to the mound this season are Beyer and Amundson. MacKenzie Weatherly will also help out at the varsity level, as well as on the junior varsity team.

Other JV and C-squad pitchers include Hannah Sayles, Kristi Kopel, and MacKenzie Van Batavia.

Defense will be another advantage for the Tigers.

"We have experience at short stop with Rentz, on second base with Gagner, at third and at home plate with Schultz, and on first base with Beyer," said Holmberg. "Our outfielders Melberg and Neuman have experience as well from last year."

Juniors Courtney Vogel and Kelsey Greenwaldt will help with the infield and outfield.

Sophomore Shadow Olson will add speed to the outfield and Haley Henrich can play both infield and outfield.

Catchers who have been helping during the pre-season are Schultz, Beyer, Vogel, Sayles, Megan Mecklenburg, and Katie Holzheimer.

Holmberg said her team's goal for this season is to be one of the top two teams in the West Central Conference and play well into the tournament.

"The West Central Conference is again solid this year," said Holmberg.

Paynesville has been added to the south half of the conference, which also includes Minnewaska Area, Benson-Hancock, Yellow Medicine East, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, BOLD, Lac qui Parle Valley, Montevideo, and Morris Area.

"Minnewaska and Benson-Hancock are always tough," said Holmberg. "They, along with Paynesville, have returning pitchers."

Morris Area's pitchers will be ready to match up with all of them.