The North Branch Vikings return a good core of their softball team that made it all the way to the State Championship game last year. The Vikings team went 25-3 and averaged almost eight runs per game. They will look towards those returners to be strong again this season.
The 2019 North Branch Softball Preview with Head Coach Katherine Crudo:
What are you most excited for this year?
We are very excited for a few things: to be able to get outside and on dirt, to see where everyone molds and fits in, to see how the hard work in the off season and beginning few weeks and where it puts us, we are excited to continue working hard in the gym or any space available. We are excited to see how our returners lead and how our newcomers respond to their leadership.
How is the roster shaping up? Do you have a lot of new players? Are you returning a lot of players? Younger? Older? Etc.
Offensively we will be tough again. We have new hitters coming in with a lot power and returning the previous big time hitters. Everyday is a new day for each girl to ground their position. Right now we are returning the following players and positions: Sophie Smith (So. 3rd base), Macy Brodin (Captain Jr. SS), Kristi Pilz (Captain Jr. P/OF), Emma Hurd (So. C), Elizabeth Gladitsch (Captain Sr. OF), and Mckenzie Richter (Jr. P/1st). Newcomers that we expect a lot of time from either offensively, defensively, or both are: Maddie Helin (Freshman OF), Ava Sittlow (Freshman 2nd), and Lydia Kuhlman (Freshman P/OF/1st). Other newcomers whom are in the running for positions are: Reagan Irons (So. OF, IF), Mya Schmelling (OF), Grace Fairbanks (Jr. 1st), McKenna Runk (Freshman 1st/OF/C), Hailey Bulver (Sr. OF), and Brooke Rothe (Freshman, 2nd).
Who are a couple athletes that will stand out?
Athletes that will stand out will be our returners. I also expect to see a couple newbies stepping up and standing out right away. Obviously with the returners they are: Elizabeth Gladitsch who will own the outfield and bring speed at the early part of our line up on offense. Macy Brodin will continue her reign at SS and will be our spark at the beginning of our line up, she brings a complete package of power, speed, and consistency. Kristi Pilz we will expect to see in the circle and create a great tempo for us on defense as well as get the team excited for her power on offense. Sophie Smith will hold down the 3rd base corner with her quick reflexes, and we expect to have her continue to make noise on offense. Emma Hurd will keep our pitching staff composed behind the plate and we also intend on her doing her part on offense. Newbies that we are expecting to create a name are: Maddie Helin (OF), Ava Sittlow (2nd), Mckenzie Richter (P/1st/DH), Lydia Kuhlman (P/OF/1st/DH).
What are your goals?
Team goals are to take no days off. The group wants to work hard and isn’t afraid to put in the effort it takes. They are to take every throw, every pitch, every swing with 100% effort and not get lazy in any situation. Another team goal is to just continue to let softball be fun with the work it entails.
Favorite upcoming games, matches, or meets?
Senior Night May 14th, Community Night May 16th
Anything else you want people to know about your team?
“Trust the Process”, this is the motto the girls picked out for the year and I feel it is going to be a good one. They know it is a newer group and it might be a process to find where everyone and everything fits, but they aren’t expecting anything less than success.
Photo Credit Katherine Crudo