Lake Park-Audubon softball preview
Although the Lake Park-Audubon softball team’s roster is dominated by sophomores, the Raiders can’t be considered as an inexperienced team heading into the 2013 season.
The majority of those sophomores have up to two years of varsity seasoning heading into the season, while a solid contingent of seniors make up a strong core.
“Our expectations will be to play in the sub-section finals again,” said LP-A head coach Bryan Anderson. “We have a strong nine players, but our problem this season will be depth.”
The seniors will lead a talented nine, starting with three-year starter Maegan Anderson.
She has improved her control and off-speed pitches and looks to potentially have her best season ahead of her.
Sophomore Jessie Swegarden will be LP-A’s second pitcher, who will provide good support for what looks like to be a very busy month of May, due to losing games in the early part of April due to the late spring.
The pitchers’ best weapon, though, will be what’s behind them, Bryan Anderson said.
“Maegan and Jessie will have some good defense behind them, so they will not have to worry about striking out every batter,” the LP-A coach said.
“We will be focusing on not having long counts, instead our pitchers can go after the batters, because we will have good defense behind them.”
Senior Carissa Raaen returns at first base, supplying a reliable glove and a tall target.
At second base, sophomore Kayla Olson will be a new face, but will provide good lateral speed and a solid glove.
Sophomore Cheyanne Nelson was a Pine-to-Prairie All-Conference shortstop last season and will return with her top-end speed, along with her three years of varsity experience.
At third base, sophomore Laina Nelson is back for her third year of varsity action, while sophomore Molly Somerville will be LP-A’s new catcher after playing right field last year.
“Molly is a very good athlete and should adjust well behind the plate,” Anderson said.
In the outfield, sophomore Megan Hilfer will occupy left field, All-Section centerfielder Swegarden returns as a three-year starter and first-year player sophomore Kristen Rislund will man right field.
“The routine plays can be made by this group and Cheyanne Nelson will be able to cover a lot of ground with her quickness at shortstop,” Anderson said.
The Raiders will have a good mix of speed at the top of the order, followed by some good contact and power hitters.
Cheyanne Nelson and Olson have the speed at the No. 1 and 2 slots, while Maegan Anderson hit nearly .500 last year from her third slot position.
At clean-up, Raaen provides that much-needed power and will give the Raiders those extra base hits, along with some homers.
Laina Nelson will give the fifth spot a good pop, while batters six through nine will set the table again with good speed, Anderson said.
With the season potentially cut down to three to four weeks, records will be distorted, Anderson said, but he still hopes to see the Raiders near the top of the Pine to Prairie Conference, along with perennial powers Ada-Borup and Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal.
The 2013 Lake Park-Audubon softball schedule:
23 at Fosston
25 Norman County
26 at NCE/U-H
2 at Red Lake County Central
9 at Menahga
14 at Bagley