The Minnewaska Laker softball team finished last year as the West Central Conference co-champions, but coach Steve Hoffmann lost five players from his team that finished 18-3 overall.
“We have a lot of positions to fill,” said Hoffmann. “[But] we have three returning All-conference players in Mady Phillips, Julie Helander and Allyssa Engfer.”
Phillips is a junior pitcher, while Helander is a senior catcher and Engfer a junior third baseman.
Letter winners returning along with those three are seniors centerfielder Lexi Amundson, second baseman Colleen Rutledge, outfielder Bridget Opdahl and outfielder Michala Cypher; juniors outfielder Shanae Suchy and first baseman Taylor Noetzelman.
Hoffmann also had a new crop of prospects on his team in senior infielder Sydney Joos, junior outfielder Isabella Schroeder, junior infielder Kacia Kollman, sophomore infielder Jordyn Roggenkakmp, sophomore pitcher Rachel Bakko and sophomore outfielder Morgan Majerus.
The Lakers, who were 13-1 in West Central Conference play, know that Morris is strong contender this year for the WCC title in the South. Minnewaska will also have to hold off Albany, Staples-Motley and Ottertail Central in the sub-section and section to find a berth at state.
Hoffmann, who has been at the helm of the Lakers for 27 years, has a career record of 427-145. He is assisted by Paul Edmunds and Dick Cordes.
MINNEWASKA SOFTBALL ROSTER
SENIORS – Lexi Amundson, centerfield; Colleen Rutledge, second base; Bridget Opdahl, outfield; Michala Cypher, outfield; Sydney Joos, infield.
JUNIORS – Mady Phillips, pitcher; Allyssa Engfer, third base; Shanae Suchy, outfield; Taylor Noetzelman, first base; Isabelle Schroeder, outfield; Kacia Kollman, infield.
SOPHOMORES – Jordyn Roggenkamp, infield; Rachel Bakko, infield; Morgan Majerus, outfield.
April 8 BROWERVILLE, 5 p.m.
April 12 at Staples-Motley, 4 p.m.
April 15 ALBANY, 4:30 p.m.
April 16 SAUK CENTRE, 5 p.m.
April 18 MONTEVIDEO, 5 p.m.
April 19 at Melrose, 5 p.m.
April 20 MINNEWASKA INVITE, 9 a.m.
April 22 at Morris, 5 p.m.
April 25 BOLD, 5 p.m.
April 26 at Yellow ME, 5 p.m.
April 30 at Paynesville, 5 p.m.
May 2 BENSON, 3 p.m.
May 3 at Atwater-CGC, 5 p.m.
May 7 MORRIS, 5 p.m.
May 9 at Sauk Centre, 5 p.m.
May 10 at Montevideo, 5 p.m.
May 13 at Wadena-DC, 5 p.m.
May 14 MELROSE, 5 p.m.
May 17 Subsection, tbd
May 21 Subsection, tbd
May 23 Subsection, tbd
May 28 Section, tbd
May 30 Section, tbd
June 6 State, Mankato
June 7 State, Mankato