Rebels bring back starting infield
The 2014 Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels softball team will have an experienced infield as they bring back starters. Head coach Kelly Goeb is in her second season at the helm. Assisting Goeb will be Tanya Benzie and volunteer assistants Mark Carlson and Chuck Swanson who have many years of combined experience. "I think we were 9-5 in 2013," recalled the coach.
Goeb explained that this year the Polar League is split between the big schools and the small schools. "We are among the big schools," said the coach. "That's along with teams like Esko and Two Harbors. We have our infield back. At first is senior Jodie Michalski. At second is senior Nikki Grutkoski. At short is starter Maddi Milczark and at third is senior Andrea Youngberg, who might also do some catching. As Chloe Maloney graduated, we have a new pitcher, Ally Bode, a freshman. Behind the plate will be 10th-grader Morgan Prachar. The outfield is among four contenders, Alyssa Wright, a senior, Jessica Paull, a 10th-grader, Nicole Newman, a ninth-grader, and Suzy Grutkoski, an eighth-grader. Also on the varsity roster is Tayler Smith, a junior, and Merissa Stevens, also a junior.
"Our main strength is our experienced infield," stated Goeb. "From what we've seen in the cage, we also have strong hitters. The outfield is hard to work on when you can't hit outside. They'll all be new this year at their positions, however, that works out. Right now I'd have to say some of the main competition will come from Hermantown, Cloquet and Esko. It's hard to say how the others will be."
Goeb is happy with the numbers of girls out for softball. "We have 20 total on the varsity and JV," she said. "We have a junior high team with 14 girls. That's a fairly consistent number. This year we do have more junior high players. KK Greene was a major loss. She hit for average and had great power and Chloe Maloney was our pitcher. The girls we have are excited how well the field is melted. We have had dads that helped out plowing and we've had shoveling parties. The girls want to play."