When the DeForest prep softball team opens the 2021 season this week it will have been 700 days since the Norskies last played a game.
The Norskies and the rest of the softball teams in the state had their 2020 season canceled due to the pandemic.
“Needless to say, we are ready to get started,” DeForest coach Jerry Schwenn said. “There is plenty of work to be done in order to maintain the championship standards that we have come to expect.”
Over the last decade the Lady Norskies have become one of the top programs in southern Wisconsin. In the last 10 years, they have a 74.8 winning percentage (190-64), won seven Badger North Conference titles, won a sectional title and earned a trip to state in 2015.
“As impressive as those numbers are on the diamond, the players have been equally successful in the classroom and the community,” Schwenn said. “We are looking forward to the growth of this year’s team, entering a season with many unknowns.”
In their last campaign in 2019, the Norskies earned their sixth straight conference title. They finished the season 23-5 overall and won a regional title.
The Norskies will have a lot of new faces on the diamond this spring and with a shortened schedule, they will not have much time to gel.
“This year will be a success based on the effort we give daily to improve as players and how close we play to our ceiling this season,” Schwenn said. “To be successful we will need to play consistent defense and will be very aggressive offensively. Some of our strengths this year include short game execution, depth with pitching staff, leadership, and coachability. Our ability to fail fast, stay healthy, and re-establishing the program culture and standards following a year off and many new faces within the program, are the main questions entering this season.”
The Norskies return two all-conference players from the 2019 season, including seniors Jordan Marty and Kylee Jansen.
Marty, who plays third base and pitches, was second-team all-conference as a sophomore. She finished the season batting .494 with 37 RBIs, 27 runs, 13 doubles and four home runs, while in the pitcher’s circle she was 1-1 with a 5.765 earned run average, 15 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Jansen earned honorable mention All-Badger North in 2019. This season she will see time in center field, shortstop and the pitching circle. As a sophomore, she batted .387 with 23 runs, 14 RBIs, two doubles, a triple and a home run.
Junior shortstop/outfielder/pitcher Avery Schaeffer is the only other Norski with varsity experience. She had two hits in two games as a freshman.
Also looking to make an impact this spring are Kendall Rauls (Sr., outfield), Trysten Schroeder (So., pitcher/outfield), Grace Hamele (Jr., outfield), Marissa McPherson (Jr., pitcher/first base), Halle Melter (So., first base), Niah Larson (Jr., outfield/catcher), Jaelyn Derlein (So., outfield), Jillian Starin (Sr., outfield), Morgan Reierson (So., catcher/third base), Megan Elvekrog (Sr., third base/outfield), Gracie McLean (Jr., outfield) and Allison Parmenter (So., second base/outfield).
Schwenn thinks Portage, Beaver Dam and Waunakee are the teams to beat in the Badger North this spring, while Baraboo is a Darkhorse.
“We expect to be in the mix with these teams, who will challenge us with good pitching and a number of key returners,” Schwenn said.
The Lady Norskies will play their home games at the DeForest Athletic Complex this spring.