Metro high school softball capsules
West Fargo Packers - Coaching: Pat Johnson (12th year) - 2004 record: 23-1 (North Dakota Class A state champions) - Key players lost: Mandy Readel, C; Kelly Klaers, 1B; Jen Grund, 2B; Brittany Stargardt, SS; Lindsey Lauritsen, 3B; Liz McCracken, RHP.
West Fargo Packers
- Coaching: Pat Johnson (12th year)
- 2004 record: 23-1 (North Dakota Class A state champions)
- Key players lost: Mandy Readel, C; Kelly Klaers, 1B; Jen Grund, 2B; Brittany Stargardt, SS; Lindsey Lauritsen, 3B; Liz McCracken, RHP.
- Key players back: Ali Edwards, Jr., SS; Kelsi Wollitz, Jr., LF; Erin Johnson, Jr., RHP; Karly Kizi, Jr., C; Angie Young, Jr., 3B; Amber Jerger, Jr., RHP; Jamie Odden, So., 2B/OF.
- Team notes: The Packers have won the last seven consecutive state championships. ... Erin Johnson and Jerger will carry the pitching load. "They throw a lot of strikes and will keep us in games," Pat Johnson said. ... Despite heavy graduation losses, Pat Johnson expects another strong season. "We've never had to replace quite as many people, but I think the girls are up to the challenge," he said. ... Pat Johnson said Grand Forks Red River, Fargo North and Fargo South are other teams to watch.
Fargo South Bruins
- Coaching: Joe Vannett (first year)
- 2004 record: 7-5 (North Dakota Class A third place)
- Key players lost: Jess Mavis, OF; Bailey Rusch, C; Trina Kumm, C; Sarah Halgunseth, INF.
- Key players back: Megan Nitschke, Sr., 2B; Kylie Heyer, Sr., C/INF; Jill Anstadt, Sr., RHP; Rachelle Cordova, Jr., CF; April Keller, Sr., 1B; Emily Peterson, Sr., SS; Angie Buckley, Sr., INF/OF: Nicky Cramlich, Jr., RHP.
- Team notes: Vannett takes over as head coach this spring for Dale Walker, who had been head coach the previous 11 seasons. Walker will be an assistant coach. ... Anstadt is expected to be the No. 1 starter. Junior Ali Larson and Cramlich are also expected to see pitching time. ... Walker said West Fargo is again the team to watch. "West Fargo is going to be hard to beat again," Walker said. "We should be in the mix."
Fargo North Spartans
- Coaching: Jeff Toussaint (eighth year)
- 2004 record: 9-9
- Key players lost: None.
- Key players back: Megan Dahl, Sr., RHP; Marin Larson, Sr., 2B; Kayla Pierson, Sr., CF; Sarah Scheel, Sr., C.
- Team notes: Dahl is coming off a strong junior season. She had 189 strikeouts in 105 innings. She also tossed two no-hitters and two one-hitters. "Pitching is our strength," Toussaint said. "We are also strong on defense. We have a number of players who can play two or three positions." ... Scheel is out for an uncertain time frame after suffering a broken wrist last week. She batted .378 last season. ... Toussaint said he expects West Fargo and Grand Forks Red River to have strong seasons. "They are always going to be the team to beat," Toussaint said of West Fargo.
Fargo Shanley Deacons
- Coaching: Tom Frappier (second year)
- 2004 record: 3-12
- Key players lost: Savannah Lahren, SS; Steph Lorz, 1B.
- Key players back: Kayla Frappier, Sr., RHP; Jess Lorz, Sr., 2B; Becky Gourde, Sr., 3B/1B; Natalie Wolff, Sr., CF; Megan Volz, Sr., OF; Kate Sinner, Sr., OF; Heather Smith, Sr., OF: Katie Bowar, So., 1B/3B; Kayla Bowar, So., SS/C; Cat Stallman, Jr., C.
- Team notes: Fargo Oak Grove and Moorhead Park Christian are combined with Shanley for softball. ... Shanley is in its second season as a varsity program. "We're expecting an improved team," Tom Frappier said. "Defensively, we'll be improved and I think we will be a better hitting team." ... Kayla Frappier will handle the pitching duties.
- Coaching: Mark Perry (second year)
- 2004 record: 5-12
- Key players lost: Leslie Grund, P; Gina Garramone, C; Alecia Stark, 3B; Ashley VandeVelde, OF; Molly Smemo, SS.
- Key players back: Lynsey Roscoe, Sr., SS; Tara Hendrickson, Sr., 1B; Brittany McBain, 2B, Sr.
- Team notes: In light of graduating five seniors, including Grund, an all-section pick who pitched nearly every game the past four seasons, Perry said he won't know what to expect until his team takes the field. "We're going to be young and pretty raw," he said. "Hopefully by the end of the season we'll be OK." ... The Spuds should be solid defensively, particularly up the middle thanks to Roscoe, McBain and centerfielder Stacy Johnson. ... Perry tabbed perennial powers Brainerd and Bemidji as the favorites in Class 3A, Section 8. ... Moorhead's schedule includes matchups with West Fargo, Fargo North, Fargo South and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, which has been set for 1 p.m. Saturday at home after being postponed Monday.
- Coaching: Shannon Hunstad (ninth year)
- 2004 record: 19-6
- Key players lost: Jessica Winter, P; Krissy Kuehl, C.
- Key players back: Ashton Pender, Sr., 3B; Kathryn Bergee, Jr., 2B; Lacey Hauser, Jr., C.
- Team notes: With only three regulars gone from a team that reached the section final last year, the Rebels (0-1) figure to challenge for a fourth conference title in six years. But they've been under the radar because of the recent success of the D-G-F volleyball and basketball teams. "You try to advertise or sell it and nobody knows because school's out," Hunstad said. ... Pender and Bergee are returning all-conference picks, while Hauser and sophomore pitcher Stacey Drechsel will make up the new battery for defensively-strong D-G-F, replacing perennial starters Kuehl and Winter. Drechsel isn't as intimidating as Winter, who is playing at Minnesota State Moorhead, but, "She's just super confident," Hunstad said. "Even when she gets hit she wants the ball." ...
Warroad and rival Roseau are again the favorites in Class 2A, Section 8.
- Compiled by Eric Peterson and Terry Vandrovec