Waseca softball coach Leonard Kroll is excited to see what his athletes can do.
It’s been nearly two years since Kroll saw his Bluejays team win only two games during a season in which many of the athletes on his current roster saw relatively little action in the field.
“I was expecting us to make a jump,” Kroll said of what he wanted to see from his team last season before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. “The first year [Waseca] only won two games. We had a senior dominated class, but I think they had been moved up way early, when some of them were freshman...I think that they didn’t have any experience of winning...I was hoping to build last year...I thought we could maybe bump it up to five wins and then we could double that this year.”
The current iteration of the Waseca Bluejays softball team is once again laden with seniors, however, Kroll believes that he’s got a talented group on his hands.
“We’ve got a large group of seniors, seven girls. And they’re all going to play significant time. I think they’re a good group,” Kroll said.
The Bluejays will be led by Isabel DenOuden in the field and Mariah Jo Daniel on the rubber. DenOuden has the most varsity experience under her belt and is one of the hardest workers on the team, according to Kroll.
“She goes 100 mph. Sometimes you have to dial [her] back a bit. She’s got just a hose for an arm.”
Daniel put in quite a bit of work last summer, working out with a personal pitching coach in New Ulm in an attempt to hone her skills.
“She doesn’t throw the hardest, but she should be consistent,” an important trait according to Kroll.
Waseca will also be bolstered by junior Brooke Hayes at shortstop and Haylee Sommers behind the plate.
“[Hayes is] a fundamentally sound, steady player. I expect her to do a great job a shortstop and I expect her to be a pretty good hitter for us this year.”
As for Sommers, “She may be our best player. She would have started for us last year...She’s a really good catcher and she’s a really good hitter. She’s going to hit No. 3 for us.”
The Bluejays will open their season at home on Thursday in a game against Lake Crystal-WM.
Mariah Jo Daniel, senior, pitcher
Isabel DenOuden, senior, third base
Sadie Staloch, senior, outfield
Elle Jansen, senior, right field
Camryn McQuery, senior, first base
Brooke Hayes, junior, shortstop
Alexis Barber, junior, outfield
Jordan Hofmeister, junior, second base
Jadyn Olsem, junior, center field
Haylee Sommers, sophomore, catcher
Emma Williamson, sophomore, pitcher/infield
Hannah Thursdale, sophomore, pitcher/outfield
McKyla Hasselquist, freshman, pitcher/infield
Thursday, April 8 — Lake Crystal-WM, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 13 — Maple River, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 15 — St. Peter, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 — at Marshall, 11 a.m., Double Header
Tuesday, April 20 — at New Ulm, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 22 — at Fairmont, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 23 — at NRHEG, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, April 26 — at Sibley East, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 29 — at St. Peter, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 30 — Blue Earth Area, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, May 3 — Worthington, 4 p.m., Double Header
Tuesday, May 4 — at Rochester Lourdes, 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 6 — New Ulm, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 — at Belle Plaine, 12 p.m.
Tuesday, May 11 — Fairmont, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, May 14 — at Medford, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 20 — at Tri-City United, 5 p.m.