The Alexandria softball team rallied throughout the second half of the 2019 season to get over .500 at 12-11 overall and win two games in the Section 8AAA playoffs.

The Cardinals were looking to build off of that heading into the 2020 season. Expected to be back for this group are seniors Autumn Botz, Ally Albers, Joria Downing, Sidney Drew, Asacia Halbe and Taylor Sayre. Juniors who saw varsity time last year were Emily Harris, Maci Tilleskjor, and Josie Steidl, while sophomore Brookelyn Stender is also back.

“We had pretty high expectations for this year’s team,” head coach Randy Albers said. “We had a core of starters returning with some possible new faces that were having strong tryouts while we were still going. We expected to have one of our best and deepest pitching staffs in recent years. Emily Harris, Ally Albers, Josie Steidl, and Jordan O’Kane were all slated to get varsity action in the circle. We were also looking strong behind the plate with junior Madison Magaard and HaileeAnn Bailey looking to take care of catching duties.”

Albers expected Taylor Sayre to help lead the offense after she hit .356 last season with 24 runs scored, 13 RBIs and a .434 on-base percentage.

“As a coaching staff, we thought we would be able to compete at a high level in a very good conference and a very strong section,” Albers said. “There were many kids who played on summer teams last year, worked out in the offseason, and are currently working out to improve their games at home. We are still optimistic that we might have a season, whatever that may look like.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has halted spring activities for Minnesota State High School League member schools through at least May 4. Ideas are being discussed as to how any type of season could be played both safely and work into schedules deeper into the summer after the regular school year comes to a close.

Coaches in the area understand that might be a long shot right now, but many are holding out some hope that they will get a chance to see this year’s group of athletes again at some point.

“I can speak for the whole coaching staff,” Albers said. “We miss not being able to participate in something we love doing. A lot of time and effort goes into the program both in and out of season by many different people to prepare, so that’s frustrating. The biggest thing that you miss is being around the kids and watching them develop as people and players.”

(Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota State High School League spring activities season is suspended through at least May 4. Whether a season will be played at all is very much up in the air, but these spring preview stories are meant to give coaches for area teams an opportunity to share what they think their players might be capable of if any type of season is played this year.)