Plenty of returns for New Berlin West softball team
Infield has an impressive all-conference look
When you lose four seniors with a combined 13 years of experience off a 19-4 team that won the first regional and sectional championships in school history, you would think your team might be in trouble.
But coach Greg Klotz of New Berlin West would not agree.
The Vikings, who lost in the semifinals of the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament in Madison last season, have six new girls to team with several returning bench players to make up for the loss of manpower.
"We will have 15 girls on the roster that can contribute and excel in any situation we need," Klotz said. "We are much deeper as a team than last year and I will not hesitate to expose any player on the team to any critical game situation.
"We have the pieces in place to play any type of team in any type of game. I have confidence in my entire roster."
West have five starters returning from last year's team and a lot of experience.
"I feel we will have one of the best infields around," Klotz said, as the Vikings return two first-team and three second-team all-conference players playing in the infield.
Leading the way again will be shortstop co-captain Mallory Klotz, who was first-team all-conference, All-District, All-Suburban, All-Area and member of all-state team.
Senior Kailey Nealon, who moved to the outfield last year and made first-team all-conference, is back in the infield this year at second base and batting third.
Senior Hannah Just, an outstanding catcher, is coming off a season in which she earned second-team all-conference honors. She might also see time at first base this season.
Speedy and slick-fielding Hannah Buth, a second-team all-conference selection, returns at third base, will bat second or in the middle of the order.
The now-graduated Abby Kunz, the Vikings' ace pitcher the past few years, will be replaced by junior Karissa Harenda, a second-team all-conference pitcher last year following a 7-1 season.
Rounding out the returnees are senior co-captain Erin Arnas, a talented infielder who took over center field last year and stood out defensively.
Newcomers to contribute
Klotz pointed out three other outstanding newcomers to watch in Riley Farrell, Leah Marrari and Monica Lauerman.
Farrell, a sophomore catcher, will battle for the first baseman job so the Vikings can get her bat in the order.
Marrari, a sophomore, is an outstanding infielder, but will be moved to right field so Klotz can get her bat in the lineup. She is a switch hitter, who is fast, can bunt and slap hit.
Lauerman is a freshman pitcher who gives the Vikings a solid No. 2 hurler.
Klotz named other players who will compete for outfield spots, including juniors Nicole Philipps and Carly Effert. Senior Jenna Szalewski, who has been an excellent pinch-runner in the last, and freshman Maddie Minik are also in the picture. Koltz sees big things from her before the season is over.
Senior Cara Mauermann will compete at first base and be the third pitcher and sophomore Hannah Giammarco will also battle for playing time at first base.
The Vikings first game against Pius XI on March 25 was canceled and they are scheduled travel to Greendale on March 27 and play in the Racine Case on Saturday.
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