Returning with a letter to the 2020 South Winn softball team are (front, l-r) Liz Tieskoetter, Mackenzie Schirmer, Mary Frana; (back) Eryn Luzum, Emma Houdek and Madison Kriener. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Returning with a letter to the 2020 South Winn softball team are (front, l-r) Liz Tieskoetter, Mackenzie Schirmer, Mary Frana; (back) Eryn Luzum, Emma Houdek and Madison Kriener. (Photo by Becky Walz)

While happy to see his players step onto the field for part of the 2020 season, Coach Jeff Krueger is a bit leery of how little time the South Winn softball team has had to prepare for the new campaign.

In his ninth season as the skipper, Coach Krueger is positive that the growth his squad exhibited at the end of last season will carry over into 2020.


Ready to go

It was a fairly young squad stepping onto the dirt field in 2019 for South Winn with a trio of seniors and a total of seven letter winners, finishing with a 7-9 Upper Iowa Conference record while going 10-20 overall.

Ten hits by the Lady Warriors caged Tripoli in the first round of Class 1A Region 7 contest, allowing the Red and Gray to top the Panthers, 13-1. The 2019 season wrapped up versus Ed-Co in the regional semifinals by an 8-4 final score.

As a team, the Lady Warriors collected a .329 batting average with a .415 on-base percentage. South Winn knocked out 241 hits, including seven home runs, nine triples, 34 doubles and 180 RBI). The young pitching staff accumulated a 4.23 earned run average (ERA), striking out 114 batters.

Graduating at the end of the season were Sierra Breitsprecher (.402 avg., 33 hits, 4 HR, 9 dbls., 29 RBI), Ashley Kriener (.473 avg., 44 hits, 2 triples, 6 dbls., 25 RBI) and Sadie McGee (.384 avg., 33 hits, 18 RBI).


The line-up

Six veterans return to the Warrior dugout starting with sophomore pitcher Eryn Luzum. As South Winn’s main twirler, Luzum posted an 8-15 mark in the circle for a 3.98 ERA, recording 102 strikeouts. In the batter’s box, she pounded out eight hits and gathered eight RBI.

Liz Tieskoetter is back with a .462 avg. and a .523 slugging percentage. During her junior campaign, Tieskoetter knocked out 39 hits for 26 RBI. Mary Frana earned a .337 average at the plate and a .500 slugging percentage during her sophomore season. Frana added 31 hits to the South Winn stat book, collecting a team-high 33 RBI. Returning to her post at first base is junior Madison Kriener. Last season, Kriener had a .203 avg. with 14 hits and eight RBIs.

Also, back with experience is senior Mackenzie Schirmer who saw time as a designated player a year ago, with 17 hits and 12 RBI for a .243 avg. and .404 on-base percentage. Pinch runner Emma Houdek will be back in the dugout as well with three stolen bases to go with a .188 avg. with 13 runs scored.

Others vying for valuable playing time include Emmaleigh Ohrt, Ruthie Frana, Liz Engelhardt, Ella Willey, Alison Heying, Morgan Kriener, Morgan Kleve and Avery Humpal.


Short on games

“It will be a learning season which is short on games,” said Coach Krueger. “The kids get to play and that’s a wonderful thing for them because nobody figured there would be any sports this summer.”

As the season begins a month late with little time to prepare, the veteran lead man expects to see North Fayette Valley and MFL MarMac lead the Upper Iowa Conference, while hoping to see the Lady Warriors finish midfield.

“I hope the girls respond to the time off well without the conditioning, throwing and hitting practices,” expressed the coach.