Softball: Warriors prepped for another deep playoff run

The Brainerd Warriors will begin their Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-4A title defense Tuesday, April 11 at Bemidji.

Brainerd Softball practice at Forestview Middle School.
Brainerd Warriors head softball coach Shane Jordan goes over a drill during practice Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Forestview Middle School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — A few of the names have changed, but the expectations remain the same.

The Brainerd Warriors are fresh off a 26-1 season and a Class 4A State runner-up finish from last year’s season. While key players have graduated, Brainerd does return 11 players who saw varsity action last year, including six who saw significant action.

“I think it’s just continuing to do everything that we’ve always done,” Brainerd head coach Shane Jordan said. “We haven’t changed anything we’ve done from year to year. We’re preparing kids for the game of softball and using softball to prepare them for life. Expectations are high and we have high expectations for our kids and we’ve had those every year since we started. I don’t think anything changes. We just expect the best out of everybody every single day.

“I’m excited because we have a whole bunch of kids who have played at the highest level against the best teams that the state of Minnesota has to offer. We’ve seen it all. There is nothing that is going to surprise us. We’ve seen the best of the best. We expect ourselves to be the best of the best, too.”

There will once again be a Tautges in the circle for the Warriors. This year it will not be all-star Olivia Tautges, but sophomore sister Mya Tautges, who spent most of last year starting at shortstop.


Tautges did pitch 16 innings and struck out 27, while allowing just three runs. At the plate, she hit .386 with five doubles, three triples and a home run.

“Mya is looking to be our pitcher in the circle when we need to win a big game,” Jordan said. “She throws really hard. In fact, miles-per-hour she’s throwing harder than Olivia did as a senior. She throws hard, but she has to get better at hitting her spots. She has to get better at getting some more spin, but she’s our go-to pitcher. We know she’s really good. She’ll be relied upon in big games this year.”

When Tautges isn’t pitching she’ll be back at short. When she is, senior Ella Chausee will handle the job. In 12 at-bats last season, Chaussee hit a home run, drove in three runs and scored five times herself.

Helping defend the middle infield will be junior Maren Ceynowa, who returns after hitting .361 with four doubles, three triples a home run and 16 RBIs last year.

A softball player throws the ball during a drill.
Molly Wieland throws the ball during Brainerd Softball practice Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Forestview Middle School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“Maren has gotten better from last year as her arm strength has improved,” Jordan said. “Her glove is getting better and at the plate, she has one of the better swings we have on the team. Defensively, we love her at second base and offensively, we look for her to take another giant leap forward.

“Ella is back and she has looked awesome this spring so far. She’s won that spot where if Mya is pitching Ella is going to play shortstop. She looked good in our scrimmage.”

If Tautges isn’t in the circle then senior Emily Ehlert could be there as well as sophomore Joze Tautges.

“Emily has looked really good in camp,” Jordan said. “She doesn’t throw as hard as Mya, but she has good control and her ball moves a little differently than Mya so that’s good. Joze is young and doesn’t have any varsity experience pitching yet, but we look to her to take a big step forward this year.”


Catching all three will be senior Sophie Mattson. The three-year varsity veteran drove in five runs and scored four times last year in 33 plate appearances.

“She’s been named a captain this year as well and her experience behind the plate is awesome,” Jordan said. “She’s grown so much. She’s become much more vocal. Kind of the quarterback of the defense, I guess you could say. Her experience is vital. We hope she can earn the opportunity to get more at-bats this year and we’re expecting that of her.”

Junior Autumn Larson could get time behind the plate this year to give Mattson a break.

Down the stretch, Mattson just focused on catching duties. The team used Lacy Busch as a designated hitter. She finished with three RBIs and a double. This year, Busch will also be in the field as she fills in for the graduated Meghan Smith.

“The challenge goes to Lacy Busch, who has won that spot at third,” Jordan said. “I’ve been impressed with her work ethic and listening and taking the little things that we’ve tried to help her with and applying that to the tough spot of third base.”

At the other corner will be senior Molly Wieland who hit .259 with two doubles and eight RBIs in limited time behind current Central Lakes College starter Emma Tautges.

“Molly has got an opportunity to win first base and hold down that position for the year,” Jordan said. “We know she has a great bat. She can hit for power and hit for base hits, but she has to be a little more consistent at first base, but in camp, she’s looked very good.

“We also have Jazz McNaughton who is trying to win that spot as well. She’s looked good as well.”


Brainerd’s outfield will once again be patrolled by senior Josie Kappes. The three-year starter hit .398 last year from her leadoff position. She scored 32 runs and finished with 33 hits, three doubles and three triples.

“She has experience and talent and she is super gritty so what a perfect place for her to be in our lineup, but at the leadoff spot,” Jordan said. “In the outfield, presumably in center field, but she could move to right. We’ll see. She’s just a leader. She’s been there for years and she knows what it takes. She’ll be the vocal leader in the outfield. She’s a tough out at the plate as well. We’re very happy to have her.”

A player throws the ball.
Josie Kappes throws the ball during Brainerd Softball practice Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Forestview Middle School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Returning in left field will be Elsa Borchert. The junior hit .292 with seven doubles, a home run, 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored.

“She had a great season in left last year and proved to be really good at getting to balls in the outfield,” Jordan said. “She’s not the fastest kid in the world, but has a good first step and good instincts to the ball. She made some really big plays last year and made them look easy.”

Right field will be a battle between senior Amanda Trusty and junior Abby Anderson.

“We do also have a lot of juniors and sophomores who have a lot of speed who have the opportunity to earn some varsity experience by running the bases,” Jordan said. “We’re looking to see who steps up and deserves to be in that spot.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at


Shane Jordan
Shane Jordan
Kelly Humphrey


Head coach: Shane Jordan, ninth year

2021 records: Central Lakes Conference: 8-0; Overall: 26-1

Career coaching record: 132-37 (.781%)

Assistant coaches: Tim Hill, Riley Atkinson (JV head coach), Jerr Johnson (JV assistant), Jayda Kline (freshman head coach), Kasia Kroll (freshman assistant)

Volunteer coaches: Dave Ellingson, Nova Larson, Chris Ceynowa

Captains: Sophie Mattson, Molly Wieland, Josie Kappes

Warrior roster

Seniors: Ella Chaussee. Emily Ehlert, Lexi Fanjoy, Josie Kappes, Madison Kelm, Sophie Mattson, Jazz McNaughton, Amanda Trusty, Molly Wieland, Anika Aho (manager)

Juniors: Abby Anderson, Elsa Borchert, Lacy Busch, Maren Ceynowa, Mallori Headley, Gabrielle Klukas, Autumn Larson, Ebanni Moore, Emily Rademacher, AJ Johnson (manager)

Sophomores: Sienna Busbey, Ericah Folden, Ava Fields, Emma Garding, Reese Glynn, Macy Goral, Brynn Haapajoki, Savanna Hanson, Bre Johnson, Josie Maurer, Keira Nickaboine, Hannah Phillips, Liz Sarvie, Katey Selisker, Joze Tautges, Mya Tautges, Fallon Whirley


Freshmen: Gabriella Andrew, Haven Armstrong, Alexis Blume, Willa Borchert, Amber Fleischhacker, Annie Foss, Analise Garding, Taytum Goble, Arianna Halbert, Tianna Herron, Madeline Jendro, Laili Lakin, Grace Langner, Addison Lillo, Kaya McNaughton, Payton Meyer, Chloe Patrick, Courtney Peterson, Callie Skoglund, Ellianna Turcotte, Camille Scofield (manager)

Eighth-graders: Kaia Iske, Jaycee Carlson (manager)

Headline News from the Brainerd Dispatch

Warrior schedule

Tuesday, April 11, at Bemidji 4 p.m.

April 17, at Moorhead 5:30 p.m.

April 18, vs. Alexandria 5 p.m.

April 20, at Rocori 5 p.m.

April 22, at Forest Lake Tournament 8 a.m.


April 25, vs. St. Cloud Crush 4 p.m. (2)

April 27, at Willmar 5 p.m.

April 28, vs. Centennial 5 p.m.

May 2, at Sauk Rapids 5 p.m.

May 5, at Champlin Park 7:30 p.m.

May 8, vs. Blaine at College of St. Benedict 2 p.m.

May 9, at Sartell 4:30 p.m. (2)

May 11, vs. Fergus Falls 4:30 p.m.

May 16, vs. Moorhead 5 p.m.

May 19, vs. Andover 5 p.m.

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