Alexy Bearbower
Alexy Bearbower
Eight returning letter winners are set to anchor the Spring Grove/Caledonia softball team this season. Junior pitcher SAMANTHA BRATLAND is already a three-year letter winner, three-time all-conference, three-time all-section, and three-time Winona Daily News All-Area Team member. She has made the La Crosse Tribune All-Area Team twice and also won Honorable Mention All-State honors last year.

Bratland went 15-6 last season, working an astonishing 136 of 160 innings in which SG/C played defense. She recorded an earned run average of 0.62 striking out 196 batters (9.3 per game). Bratland threw three no-hitters, including one during the playoffs. She also led the team at the plate, hitting .367 with 29 runs batted in (RBI) and three home runs.

Senior catcher LOTTIE AUGEDAHL is a two-time letter winner and a two-time all conference player. She led the team in runs scored (23) and was second in RBI (18), fielding percentage (.982), and batting average (.311).

MARIE DOERING is also a senior. She returns to third base and is a two-time letter winner/two-time all-conference player. Doering has also won the Hustle Award twice in team voting, batting .241 with a fielding percentage of .846.

Senior shortstop TAYLOR AUGEDAHL is a two-year letter winner. She led the team in stolen bases last year (7), batted .282 and totaled 15 RBI.

Outfielder and two-year letter winner LAUREN RUSERT is back for her senior year as well. She was named Co-Hustle Award winner in 2013, batting .273 with 15 RBI.

Senior ALEXY BEARBOWER plays second base. She is also a two-year letter winner and made Honorable Mention on the all-conference list in 2013. Bearbower also won the Most Improved Player Award in team voting last season. She was the third-leading hitter batting .284 with a .861 fielding percentage.

Other returning letter winners include junior infielder EMILY RANZENBERGER and sophomore pitcher/first baseman SOPHIA AUGEDAHL.

In addition, junior Jenna Rosendahl is listed as an outfielder. Sophomores include two additional pitcher/infielders Abby Hoskins and Taylor Welscher, catcher Olivia Schmitz, first baseman Carrie Schoh, third-baseman Olivia Adamson, and utility players Jordan Anderson, MaKenzie Denstad and Mariah Schmitz.

Head coach Michelle Anderson also said that "Eight eager and talented freshmen (are) looking to earn playing time wherever and whenever they are needed." They are: Abby Bauer, Alyssa Meiners, Cayley Twite, Brianna Sand, Kelsey Hermanson, Lydia Melde, and Sarah Petersen.

Anderson is now in her 24th season. She's joined by second year assistant coach Tory Kale-Schulz. Bethany Bergsgaard will again coach the junior high team.

SG/C went 11-4 in TRC action (South Division), 16-9 overall in 2013. The team was the 1AA East Sub-section runner up, and participated at section.

Anderson said that "SG/C had three seniors graduate in 2013 - all three were starters. We do return a very good nucleus behind our pitcher, all-conference and Honorable Mention All-State junior Samantha Bratland. We look for our catcher, Lottie Augedahl to bring quickness, a strong arm and experience behind the plate."

With the return of an experienced infield and one veteran outfielder, SG/C should be ready to go. All three sophomore pitchers will be expected to back up Bratland this season.

"One of our strengths will be speed, but we will have to put the ball in play much more consistently than last season for it to become a strength for us," Anderson noted.

"Defensively, we will need our experience players to carry the load until our newcomers get real varsity game experience. We will also need to improve our on-field communication to capitalize on our experience. SG/C is counting on getting great leadership both on and off the field from our seniors and juniors this season.

"This will be our second season in the Three-Rivers Conference, and we have found out that we will have to come ready play each and every game. Chatfield continues to be a strong squad, and the addition of Winona Cotter to the conference will add even more competition. But really, all the conference teams have the potential to win lots of games.

"The section is extremely strong again with Kasson-Mantorville, Winona Cotter and Zumbrota-Mazeppa. As usual, there will probably be some surprise teams as we get into sub-sections and sections. SG/C will continue to improve and keep working hard for the opportunity to compete with all the extremely talented teams that can be found in southeastern Minnesota."

Field conditions permitting, the softball season opener is scheduled as a conference double header at Chatfield on April 10. The annual tournament at Onalaska Luther is slated for Saturday, April 12 with games at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

The home opener at Caledonia is Tuesday, April 15 versus Wabasha-Kellogg.

C/SG Softball - the last 5 years

(2013) 16-9 (11-4 TRC, 3rd of 6) sub-section runner-up

(2012) 19-4 (8-0 SEC, 1st of 5) sub-section champion

(2011) 14-5 (7-1 SEC tie 1st of 5) sub-section runner-up

(2010) 11-11 (6-4 SEC, 3rd of 6)

(2009) 20-5 (10-0 SEC, 1st of 6)