As usual, Badger North looks to be a tough softball conference in 2020.
The Waunakee softball team hopes to be among the contenders; if they’re to do so, they’ll likely rely on a handful of all-conference returnees for productions.
Highlighting the team in 2020 is senior outfielder/pitcher Trista Ripp, who was a First-Team All-Badger North selection in 2019. Ripp is joined by senior third baseman Avery Lehr – a second-team selection last year who led the team with 23 RBI in 2019 – and junior Callie Kesilewski, who was an honorable mention pick boasting a .375 batting average a season ago. Ripp could split time again between the outfield – where a rocket of an arm makes her a defensive weapon – and at pitcher, where she struck out 44 batters in 2019.
The Warriors will have plenty of spots to fill, with six regular starters graduated from last year’s regular lineup. While the players aiming to replace the production may not have been regular starters, they’re far from strangers to the diamond.
Senior Lauren Smithback brings plenty of experience in the infield – where she was an honorable mention all-conference honoree in 2018 – while junior Alyssah Manriquez saw a good deal of action as an outfielder a season ago.
Alli Lenling could earn time at pitcher, as well; the junior made a handful of appearances in relief last year and appears to be next in line behind Ripp in the circle.
Players fighting to earn larger roles include seniors Natalie Kazynski and Maddie Ripp, along with sophomores Lila Branchaw and Kayla Rosenstock.
Head Coach Tammy Rademacher – entering her 15th season leading the program – will likely tinker with the lineup as the season progresses. With the season’s beginning tentatively on hold, the Warriors’ first handful of games – scheduled to start on March 26 – be on pause until later in the spring.