Wolverines want to catch lightning in a bottle again
Craig Klawitter saw his Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines accomplish much more than he expected last spring on the softball field.
To repeat as Mid-State champs they might have to do it again.
"Everyone in our conference should be better than last year," said Klawitter, who saw his Wolverines post a 12-0 mark in the Mid-State. Park Rapids and Perham finished second and third.
The Wolverines won 17 of their 20 games in repeating as conference champs. They reeled off 12 straight wins during one stretch but were ousted from the playoffs after losses to Section 8AA champ Otter Tail Central and section runner-up Fergus Falls.
"They surprised the heck out of me last year," Klawitter said in praising his 2009 team.
Klawitter has most of those players back but he is missing a couple of gems in pitcher Steph Perkins and shortstop Kendra Grothmann. Perkins was a stalwart on the mound and Grothmann gave WDC four years of good play at short.
The success of last year's club has brought out a ton of newcomers. Senior Leah Dykhoff played softball in her sophomore year but opted for track last season. Dykhoff swings a good stick and gives Klawitter a much-needed lead-off hitter. Klawitter wants to find a place in the outfield for Dykhoff.
Senior Steph Hahn was part of WDC's 1-2 pitching punch last year. She did not have Perkins' strikeout arm but she made the most of her good control. Hahn can also play third. Junior Amanda Perkins, Steph's younger sister, is also tabbed for some pitching.
First baseman Lexie Hoemberg is back for her senior year at first base. Klawitter is counting on Hoemberg's bat as well as her glove.
Klawitter has to find two new people to play the keystone spots. Competition for the starting second baseman's spot has been hot. Short is also up for grabs although Klawitter would like to see one of his underclassmen in the spot.
Handling the backstop duties will be senior veterans Sam Holweger and Megan Popp.
Senior Kelly DeFoe can pitch or play a utility spot. Senior Jessica Wegscheid might be looking at some duty at second.
Klawitter will be holding his team to 10-11 players. In addition to his senior talent, he has juniors Ashley Paul and Christina Wolden looking for playing time.
Three of the most promising sophomores are Steph Ament, Avery Jackson and Morgan Lugert.
Klawitter has a pair of freshmen hurlers in Melissa Moenkedick and Caitlyn Volkmann. Klawitter has also liked the play of freshman Katelyn Peters.