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College Softball: Expectations high for CLC Raiders

Central Lakes College Raiders pitcher Kayla Larson delivers during practice this week in the CLC gym. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The Central Lakes College Raiders open their softball season this week in Florida and head into this season with high expectations for a team that finished 9-3 in conference play and 20-20 overall in 2017.

CLC is scheduled to open the season against Rainy River at Titusville, Fla., Thursday, March 8. The Raiders are scheduled to play eight games in Florida including two against Anoka-Ramsey.

Raiders head coach Ray Austin starts his second season and has key players returning from last year.

"We are returning both pitchers from last year," Austin said. "Kayla Larson from Isle and Andrea Wagoner threw all but five games last year. I have some pretty high expectations based on what they accomplished last year. Both put in the work in the off-season and are stronger and throw harder.

"We also return Kaye Smude who led our team in almost every offensive category. She will join Wagoner in the middle of our lineup and provide plenty of offense. Katelyn Waytashek also returns as a valuable utility player who provides offense at the end of the lineup."

Larson's 3.68 ERA led the pitching staff. She struck 114 batters in 112 innings, finishing with an 8-10 record. Wagoner recorded an 11-7 record in 99 innings pitched. She struck out 72 batters while giving up just two home runs.

Smude led the Raiders in hits with 66, home runs with 11, tied for the lead in RBIs with 35, and led the team in stolen bases (13) while batting a team-high .482.

Along with his returning players Austin will also have first-year players filling key spots.

"Our key first-year players are Lisa Kossan, an infielder from Staples," Austin said. "She will hit at the top of the lineup and play shortstop.

"Brooke Jerger, a pitcher/utility player from Park Rapids, will get innings in the circle and hit at the top of the lineup too. Kallie Plantenberg, from Eden Valley-Watkins, will play third and compete for innings in the circle as well. Sam Schimpp from Staples and Lindsay Hendrickson from Menahga will also be in the mix."

Last year's Raider team went 3-2 in the Region 13B tournament beating Rainy River and Mesabi, but had to beat Itasca twice to win the double-elimination event. CLC won the first game 4-2, but lost the second 16-7 to end the season.

"We want to be in the mix at the end," Austin said. "Health is always a concern. If we stay healthy, we will compete."

Roster

No., Name, Pos., Year, Hometown

1-Kaye Smude, C/OF, So., Brainerd

3-Lisa Kossan, SS, Fr., Staples

4-Kallie Plantenberg, IF/P, Fr., Watkins

5-Kayla Larson, P/OF, So., Isle

6-Brooke Jerger, P/IF, Fr., Park Rapids

8-Kate Olson, Utility, Fr., Princeton

16-Sam Schimpp, C, Fr., Staples

20-Katelyn Waytashek, OF/IF, So., Pierz

21-Lindsay Hendrickson, IF/OF, Fr., Menahga

22-Andrea Wagoner, P/EH, So., Colona IL

23-Paige Johnson, Utility, So., Chaska

Schedule

March 8: Rainy River at Titusville, FLA 10 a.m.; Spoon River College at Titusville 2:30 p.m.

March 9: Sinclair CC at Titusville 10 a.m.; Anoka-Ramsey at Titusville 12:30 p.m.

March 11: Rowan College at Titusville 10 a.m.; SUNY Adirondack at Titusville 1 p.m.

March 12: Southern Maine CC at Titusville 7:30 a.m., Anoka-Ramsey at Titusville 10 a.m.

March 22: Itasca in Minnesota Classic in Irish Dome at Rosemount 7:15 a.m., Hibbing at Rosemount 9 a.m., St. Cloud TC at Rosemount 10:45 a.m.

March 23: Dakota County Technical College at Rosemount 7:15 a.m., Hibbing at Rosemount 9 a.m., Anoka-Ramsey at Rosemount 10:45 a.m.

March 24: College of St Benedict JV at SJU Dome in Collegeville 1 p.m. (2)

March 31: Rochester at Rochester in MCAC Crossover 1 p.m., Minnesota State Fergus Falls in MCAC Crossover 5 p.m., Riverland in MCAC Crossover 7 p.m.

April 7: Rainy River in CLC Classic 11 a.m., Itasca in CLC Classic 3 p.m.

April 11: at Williston State College 3 p.m. (2)

April 15: at North Dakota State College of Science noon (2)

April 21: Northland 1 p.m. (2)

April 22: Rainy River 1 p.m. (2)

April 25: at Mesabi Range 3 p.m. (2)

April 28: at Itasca 1 p.m. (2)

April 29: at Hibbing 1 p.m. (2)

May 2: Vermilion 3 p.m. (2)

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