The 2019 Rush City Softball Preview with Head Coach Kim Erdman
What are you most excited for this year?
Getting on the field and improving throughout the season. We have a pretty tough schedule this year, adding a few non-conference teams that are tough along with a much improved conference.
How is the roster shaping up? Do you have a lot of new players? Are you returning a lot of players? Younger? Older? Etc.
Right now we have a roster of 16 girls, some who will also play JV at times.
11 girls will return with a lot of varsity experience. We lost one starter due to graduation, but it was a big loss – MVP of the conference catcher Taylor Williams. We have a strong senior core – with Katie McDonald (3rd, OF), Kaylyn Bowen (2nd), Brystin Lamont (1st), Katie Groh (OF), and Maggie Biermaier (OF). They have many years of varsity experience under their belt. Juniors Sara Gilbert and Selena Schmidt and Taylor Voight will make an impact offensively and defensively. Sara has look real strong in the cage in preseason and has solid defense. Selena is that unique player that can play ALL the positions, including pitcher and catcher. Voight will be carrying the load early in the year on the mound. She shared duties last year with then 8th grader Katelyn Buehring, but Katelyn is currently nursing an injury. Sophomore Ally Rood will be moving from third to catcher and is looking very strong in the preseason. She had an opportunity to catch in multiple games last year. Sophomore Madison Biermaier will add some speed to the line-up and gain some valuable experience. We are anxiously awaiting freshman Katelyn Buehring’s return to help share duties on the mound. Freshmen Shelby Holmstrom will add some speed to the bases while Meghan Dick can give Rood a break at catcher and gain valuable varsity experience. 8th grader Grace Folkema has been throwing hard and is ready to step up to the task if needed on the mound. Mackenzie Ribich is lightning quick on the bases and has looked very good in the outfield so far this preseason. 7th grader Summer Nelson has looked good in the cage and has a good scoop at first base.
Who are a couple athletes that will stand out?
I think all of the girls mentioned above have potential to stand out in any given game. Situations will allow girls to step up and rise to the occasion – which is what we have been practicing for.
I also have done this long enough to know that in the game of softball, girls go through good streaks and bad streaks. Just because a girl had a great average last year does not mean that will happen this year. And if they struggled at the plate last year, well this year is a new year. They need to take it one at bat or play at a time, and if things did not go well, they need to have a short memory and get ready to pull through on the next pitch or play.
Any upcoming milestones for your team?
The girls have won the conference four years in a row and would really like to make it 5. If that happens – great. But we really want to be playing our best ball by the middle of May to make a serious run into the playoffs.
What are your goals?
To have the girls, 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now be saying “Remember whens” with their teammates. Also we have had many former players come and join our dugout or help at a practice. I LOVE that. Creating positive memories for these awesome young ladies on and off the field.
Favorite upcoming games, matches, or meets?
All teams have the potential of beating us and we have the potential of beating all teams. That is what is so great about softball. I am looking forward to our tough non-conference schedule, but the Isle games and Hinckley games are big in the conference. Isle lost one starter and Hinckley did not lose a starter and both those teams played us very tough last year.
Anything else you want people to know about your team?
Yes. I write about the varsity but our JV and Junior High girls are as much a part of the program as the varsity. They help make us better in practice and do everything we expect the varsity to do. The Junior High, Junior Varsity, and Varsity work the county fair, school carnival, volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, many were involved in the All School Play, many are mentors to elementary students, many are teacher assistants in the classroom, some are involved in speech, etc, etc, etc. These are our adults of the future, and by looking at this wonderful group of young ladies –all 42 of them, the future is very brightJ
Photo Credit John Olson