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Raiders hoping to build on strong 2013 finish

The Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale Raiders hope to build on a strong 2013 finish this spring as they tackle a tough Park Region Conference slate.

Coming off a runner-up finish in section play last spring, the Raiders will bring back all but two of their starters.

Senior Kristen Korfe will be a key player defensively and offensively for the Raides. Korfe gives the Raiders a dependable pitcher and a strong bat.

“She hit over .400,” BHV co-head coach Dan Johnson said, who considers Korfe just as valuable for her hitting as for her pitching skills.

The Raiders are also counting on some good hitting from senior outfielder and designated hitter Tiffany Wangerin.

Senior infielder Franki Banyai saw most of her action with the junior varsity last year.

Junior outfielder Elyssa Kern gives the Raiders some good speed.

“She is a very important part of our running game,” Johnson said. “We’re basically just looking for a good on-base percentage from her.”

Hannah Van Hale will play third for the Raiders and give the team a good backup pitcher.

“She’s a very solid defensive player,” Johnson said.

Rounding out the junior group is outfielder Kylee Wright. Johnson likes the speed Wright brings to the game.

“She covers a lot of ground in the outfield,” Johnson said.

The Raiders have three sophomores who are already third-year varsity players.

Sarah Moenkedick gives the Raiders a solid, all-around player at short.

First baseman Jordyn Glenz is a line drive hitter who Johnson also considers the team’s best power bat.

Sydney Weniger is ready to go behind the plate. Johnson is especially impressed with her defensive skills.

“She’s a good backstop. She stops a lot of balls saves a lot of runs,” Johnson said.

The Raiders also have sophomores in Madison Valley, Michaela Powers and Cassie Cottrell. Valley and Cottrell are regarded as candidates for infield duty. Powers can play first and the outfield.

The Raiders have two hard-throwing freshmen on this year’s squad in Alyssa Kimber and Jordan Carr.

“We like the pitching depth we have this year,” Johnson said. “I feel comfortable with any of one of them at this point.”

Johnson considers New York Mills and Otter Tail Central to have contending teams in the PRC this season. Mills and Frazee will both be strong teams in section play.