By Tyler Ohmann
Having a solid core of returning players usually foreshadows success, especially for a team that went 14-8 a year ago.
That team this year is the Royalton softball team, who along with 14 wins, also made a deep run in the Section 6A playoffs.
The Royals return five starters, including senior pitcher Alli Tresco, who was the Royals’ main starter a year ago.
Also back is senior catcher Laura Huls, senior third base Amy Neu and senior shortstop Jordyn Bzdok.
The final returner is junior outfielder/first base Brooklyn Pekarek.
“These individuals will need to play consistent in their positions and at the plate to help us compete in the conference and postseason,” said newly minted Royals head coach Brent Lieser.
Lieser expects players like sophomores Jenna Carlson and Morgan Wagner and freshmen Macy Petron, Allyson Waletski and Erin Zapzalka to challenge for varsity’s remaining spots, among other possible players.
“We will have several girls making the jump from either junior varsity or junior high to the varsity level,” Lieser said. “We also have many girls taking on new and/or multiple positions in the field.”
“However, our strengths should be our defensive athleticism and overall speed,” he added.
Lieser said he expects Osakis, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and Browerville-Eagle Valley (BEV) to again be competitive in the Prairie Conference, while New York Mills will join BEV as the top section competitors for the Royals.
“Every team should have the goal aimed at playing in the state tournament or to playing as late in May as possible,” Lieser said. “Our girls’ goal is to compete for the conference title and play their best softball down the stretch in May.”
Royalton will travel to face Kimball to open the season, Thursday.