Softball Preview: Raiders’ defense to key team
Strikes, or more importantly throwing them, will be the biggest key for the Lake Park-Audubon softball team this season.
With the departure of their top pitcher last year in Maegan Anderson, the Raiders have a void to fill on the mound.
“Our key is simple, we have some young pitchers coming up and their job will be to throw strikes, because we will have a pretty good defense behind them,” said LP-A head coach Bryan Anderson.
LP-A returns seven of their nine starters from last year’s team, which played to the final four of the section playoffs, and all are juniors.
Four of them have started on varsity since seventh grade and three since eighth grade. So, in essence, the Raiders may be younger, but they have plenty of seasoning behind them.
“We’ll need to throw strikes and not give away bases,” Anderson said.
The Raiders had a good transition ready to go in the pitching department, with Jesse Swegarden to take over.
But an injury to her hip has wiped out the season for Swegarden, with 2013 junior varsity pitchers sophomores Sierra Omvig and Paige Hovelson set to form the rotation.
“They are not overpowering, but both can move the ball around and hit the corners,” Anderson said. “They should be a pretty good tandem.”
The Raider defense will be fast, with All-Conference junior shortstop Cheyanne Nelson returning, along with freshman Aubrey Somerville at catcher and junior third baseman Laina Nelson returning.
The outfield will be solid with the return of junior Megan Hilfer in left, junior Kayla Olson in right and sophomore Carlie Raaen potentially in center.
“If we could find a shortstop to replace Nelson, I would love to put her out in centerfield, where it would be a natural fit for her speed,” Anderson said.
With 30 players out for softball, depth is also becoming a strength.
Speed will also key the offense, with manufacturing runs being the norm.
“We have a lot of good averages and it’s going to be our speed which creates runs for us,” Anderson said.
The Raiders will be looking to finish in the top of the conference, while hopefully making another deep run into the Section 6-1A playoffs.
The 2014 Lake Park-Audubon softball schedule:
17 at Norman County
22 at Fosston
24 Red Lake County Central
2 at Fertile-Beltrami
5 at Fosston
16 at Norman County