Braves needed season to rebuild
A young Menahga fastpitch softball team was looking to gain varsity experience this spring.
With only four returning letterwinners, Lindsey White was counting on this season to provide valuable varsity experience for the younger players on the Menahga fastpitch softball team.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Braves won’t get that opportunity.
“A season’s worth of playing time will definitely affect a program in a lot of ways,” said White. “I have a pretty young team and I was really looking forward to getting them some playing time to gain more experience and confidence at the varsity level. Sadly, we lost a year of improving skills.”
The Braves were returning a young team with only juniors Rachel Marjamaa (pitcher) and Jadeyn Dissmore (third base, pitcher), sophomore Allie Pfeifer (catcher) and freshman Aili Anderson (infield, catcher) returning with extended varsity experience. Those expected to compete for the other starting spots were seniors Devon Haverinen (infield, outfield) and Samantha Pfeifer (infield); juniors Samara Butler (infield, outfield) and Jodi Torgerson (infield); sophomores Molly Hendrickson (outfield), Hope Shepersky (outfield) and Journie Schoon (catcher, infield); and eighth graders Joie Koll (pitcher, infield) and Leah Weaver (pitcher, infield).
That group was looking to replace last year’s Park Region Conference trio of Alyssa Peterson, Rena Pinoniemi and Jessica Pietila. Peterson graduated while Pinoniemi and Pietila elected not to play softball this spring. Jamie Erno, Aimee Lake and Madi Marjamaa also graduated from a team that went 5-9 to share fifth place in the conference standings and posted an 8-12 overall record. Menahga received the No. 3 seed in the West for the Section 5A tournament and opened with a 2-1 win over No. 6 Nevis before being eliminated with an 8-3 loss to No. 2 Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale and a 5-3 loss to No. 4 Pine River-Backus. Isle defeated Hinckley-Finlayson in last year’s section championship game.
“This was a rebuilding year. My goal was that we would get stronger as the season went on,” said White, whose team averaged 5.4 runs a game while allowing 7.9 runs a game last season. “I was really hoping to build this year on how we ended last season. We are young and have a ton of potential.”