Trent Schneider has had a lot of time to prepare for his first season as head coach of the Lodi prep softball team. He was set to coach the Blue Devils for the first time in 2020, but the pandemic forced the cancelation of the season.
A year later, Schneider is eager to lead the Lady Blue Devils.
“It was very disappointing to lose last season,” Schneider said. “Last year was my first year coaching and we had six seniors who didn’t get a chance to finish their careers. Not having seniors to lean on this year will be very challenging. But with all the youth, the girls will be able to learn the style of softball we want to play right away.”
In 2019, Lodi finished 6-16 overall and went 1-9 in the Capitol North Conference.
Poynette claimed the 2019 Capitol North crown with a 10-0 record, followed by Lake Mills (7-3), Lakeside Lutheran (6-4), Columbus (4-6), Luther Prep (2-8) and Lodi.
The Blue Devils will be very young this season. They have no seniors on the roster.
“With only four junior and no seniors, we will have 12 freshmen and sophomores as first-year players,” Schneider said. “Our goal will be to compete in every game and finish with an above .500 record.
Before the season even started, the Lady Blue Devils were dealt a devastating blow, as senior Jaden Kolinski was lost for the season with an injury, which also cost her the basketball and volleyball seasons. She was a second-team all-conference pick as a sophomore.
Emma Krumpen is the only returning starter for Lodi and will handle most of the pitching duties this season. Rylee Schneider is the only other Blue Devil with varsity experience.
“We are very young and inexperienced and numbers are low, but I’m expecting that to be a strength be the end of the season,” Schneider said. “We can become a very close group and I hope that springboards us into a big season next year. This season will be a success if we keep all the girls healthy and excited top play softball with a great start. Getting our girls to a higher level of skill and competitiveness will also make this season a success.”
A late start to the season will force the young Blue Devils to play 17 games over a short period of time.
“We will need to take advantage of every practice this season,” Schneider said. “Once the games start there will be three or four a week, so concentrating on the little details in practice will be very important.”
The Lady Blue Devils opened the season this past Tuesday against Poynette. A recap will be in next week’s Enterprise.
Lodi will travel to Columbus tonight and then make a trip to Cambridge on Friday. Both games will start at 5 p.m.