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Softball: Patriots optimistic with 11 letterwinners

The Pequot Lakes Patriots softball team would like to add another chapter to their recent success story this spring with 11 returning letterwinners. The Patriots were Class 2A state runners-up in 2016 and then compiled a 12-10 record last year af...

The 2018 Patriot softball team. Front row, from left: Cora Brown, Alex Kotaska, Cassandra Haman, Bre Sewall, Karlie Trottier, Clare Ganley and Sydney Tietz. Middle row: Morgan LaRock, Maya Orvis, Kylie Edblad, Mariah Rubel, Kenzie Nelson, Mariah Rickard, Frankie Holmgren, Samantha Jackson and Zella Drake. Back row: Rita Ganley, Mackenzie Merta, Madeline Morrison, Ari Merta, Hayden Cameron, Morgan Eckes, Hannah Brown and Catherine Ganley.
The 2018 Patriot softball team. Front row, from left: Cora Brown, Alex Kotaska, Cassandra Haman, Bre Sewall, Karlie Trottier, Clare Ganley and Sydney Tietz. Middle row: Morgan LaRock, Maya Orvis, Kylie Edblad, Mariah Rubel, Kenzie Nelson, Mariah Rickard, Frankie Holmgren, Samantha Jackson and Zella Drake. Back row: Rita Ganley, Mackenzie Merta, Madeline Morrison, Ari Merta, Hayden Cameron, Morgan Eckes, Hannah Brown and Catherine Ganley. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

The Pequot Lakes Patriots softball team would like to add another chapter to their recent success story this spring with 11 returning letterwinners.

The Patriots were Class 2A state runners-up in 2016 and then compiled a 12-10 record last year after losing to top-seeded Osakis in the Subsection 6-2A tournament.

"We are optimistic heading into the season with all eight of our starting position players back," said coach Bret Sergent, who has compiled a 306-225 record in 26 seasons with the Patriots. "We are returning to Section 8-2A this year and we hope our experience will help lead us to success."

Players returning for the Patriots include three-year letterwinner Alex Kotaska, a senior third baseman. Other letterwinners include senior outfielders Clare Ganley, Cassandra Haman and Cora Brown, senior shortstop Bre Sewall and senior catcher Karlie Trottier; junior second baseman Kenzie Nelson, junior outfielder Ari Merta; sophomore first baseman/outfielder Mariah Rickard; and eighth-grade pitcher Morgan Eckes.

"We project to have an experienced infield with All-Mid-State Conference players Alex Kotaska (third base) and Bre Sewall (shortstop)," said Sergent, whose team was 4-4 in conference games last year. "We also have all-conference honorable mention players Kenzie Nelson (second base) and Mariah Rickard (first base)."

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The Patriots' outfield features Cassandra Haman, Clare Ganley, Cora Brown and junior Ari Merta. The team's battery will consist of all-section and All-Mid-State players Trottier, and Eckes, who was 4-2 overall with a 3.93 earned-run average last spring.

Trottier had a team-high .463 batting average while scoring 26 runs and adding 23 RBI. Rickard earned the Golden Glove award for making just six errors in 147 chances at first base. Also last spring, Nelson had 29 hits and scored 27 runs while Sewall added 25 hits and scored 26 times.

Last season's team MVP Taya Salminen did graduate after compiling a 7-5 pitching record and 4.36 ERA.

Others who could step in and contribute are senior Sydney Tietz, and sophomores Madeline Morrison and Mariah Rubel.

Assistant coaches are Monica Sergent and Chad Rudbeck.

Pequot Lakes softball

APRIL

10 - Perham at Pequot Lakes, 4:30 p.m.

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12 - Pequot Lakes at Long Prairie/GE, 4:30 p.m.

13 - Pequot Lakes at Pillager, 4:30 p.m.

17 - Park Rapids at Pequot Lakes (2), 4 p.m.

19 - Bagley at Pequot Lakes, 4:30 p.m.

21 - Pequot Lakes at Frazee, 4:30 p.m.

24 - Pequot Lakes at Detroit Lakes (2), 4 p.m.

27 - Pequot Lakes at Verndale, 4:30 p.m.

MAY

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1 - Staples-Motley at Pequot Lakes (2), 4 p.m.

3 - Pequot Lakes at Aitkin (2), 4 p.m.

8 - Pequot Lakes at Crosby-Ironton (2), 4 p.m.

10 - Wadena-Deer Creek at Pequot Lakes, 4:30 p.m.

15 - Pine River-Backus at Pequot Lakes, 4:30 p.m.

22 - Section playoffs open, TBD

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