RCC softball team should bring versatility

Published 8:47 pm Friday, March 13, 2009

While they bring back just three returnees from last year’s team and have 11 newcomers on the roster, there’s no reason to believe that the Riverland softball team won’t be competitive this season.

After all, they had 10 freshmen on last year’s team and that squad made it to state and went 2-2.

“We proved last year we can win with freshman,” RCC head coach Dave Lillemon said. “I like the athleticism on this team.”

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In fact, one of RCC’s newcomers may be their leader this season. Laura Meyer, a non-traditional student from Washburn, will likely anchor center field. The lefty brings a strong arm to the table and she can hit.

“She’s a heck of a player,” Lillemon said. “She could be one of the top-five players in the state.”

Another thing the Blue Devils have going for them is their depth. They have multiple players who can play a variety of positions which has made practice competitive, while giving the squad a safeguard against any injuries or scheduling issues durin the season.

“We have a lot of girls that can play multiple positions and we won’t miss a beat when we make changes,” he said.

In all, RCC returns three players from last year’s squad — Carmen Smith of Lyle/Pacelli, Kaylee Newmann of Alden/Conger, and Jill Radke of Maple River.

On the mound, the Blue Devils bring back Newmann, who pitched in 26 games last year, including every game at state. She finished the year with a 3-7 overall record.

Along with Newmann, Anna Breault of Houston and Elizabeth Triplett of Northfield will see some time pitching.

Breault will likely be the No. 2 hurler, but all three will pitch next week at the Minnesota Classic, where RCC will play six games in three days.

“Right now pitching is our biggest question mark,” Lillemon said. “We’ve just got to get them out there and give them some experience.”

Triplett will also play outfield and third base and she will bring power to the lineup, while Breault can play first base as well.

“(Triplett) is a lefty and she has the best power on the team. She’s got a good swing and she hits the ball hard,” Lillemon said.

Radke was an All-Conference player last season as she hit .457 and had 28 RBIs. She will play right field.

Smith was a catcher last year where she hit .278 and had 20 RBIs. She will see a lot of time at designated player (hitter) as the team may go with Danielle Lynch at catcher.

Lynch is a standout four-year starter from Houston and she can also play first- and second-base.

Competing for spots at second-base will be Christy Van Dyke of Laverne and Andrea Exline of Green City, Missouri.

“Andrea’s a pretty tough out and Christy is a pretty good athlete,” Lillemon said.

Mandy May of Randolph will likely hold down the shortstop position and Justine Sanvick of Hayfield will provide depth throughout the infield as a utility player.

In left field, Thenedra Corey may hold down the spot as she brings a lot of speed.

“She’s a switch hitter and I’d like to use her as a slap hitter,” Lillemon said.

Others looking to contribute for RCC are Rachel Knopps of Blue Earth and Chelsey Swanson of Grand Meadow.

RCC will play Mesabi Range in the Irish Dome in Rosemount, Minn. Monday in a 9 a.m. doubleheader. The Blue Devils will then play in the Minnesota Classic at the Irish Dome Wednesday and Friday.

RCC has home doubleheaders scheduled with Iowa Lakes March 23 at 3:30 p.m. and Dakota County March 30 at 3:30 p.m.