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Bemidji High School softball: Season opens Saturday at home against Fergus Falls

The Bemidji High softball finally team opens its new season today, hosting Fergus Falls at 1 p.m. at the high school complex.

The team enters the new year with high hopes, losing only one reserve to graduation last year from a team that developed quickly to finish 13-8, ending one game short of gaining the section final.

Eleven players return from that year joined by senior Paige Jensen who moved to Bemidji this year from Mandan, N.D.

Bemidji and Fergus did not meet last year, victims of an early season rainout that could not be rescheduled.

Through the years, however, they have played competitive games.

Brad Takkunen starts his 14th season with a career record of 186-102 but 154-58 in the past nine years, all winning seasons.

Leading the returnees is pitcher Chelsea Yost, a two- year regular who ended 10-4 last year, losing her final two games at the sub-section where she was provided one run per game.

Erika Weimann (2-1) will be the No. 2 hurler with Megan Gullickson (1-2) also available if needed.

Gullickson, however, will handle the receiving.

Other vets back are Brittan y Thompson, Amber Teal, Haley Johnson, Kaia Sele, Meg Claypool, Tara Ripplinger and Emily Larson. Chelsea Johnson will round out the varsity cast.

Another 13 are on the B Team coached by Merry Kenow. That team end3ed 9-5 in 2008.

Amy Skala will be Takkunen top aide again.

Takkunen top goal this spring is improved hitting. Sele (.361) was the only .300 hitter last year with seven players ending under .250.

In four of Yost's five setbacks, she received only two runs combined.

Bemidji will have strength up the middle with Claypool back at short and Haley Johnson in center.

Thompson will return to third.

First base is up for grabs between Jensen and Sele with Larson and Teal battling for second.

The two losers will man the outfield flanks. Others who should see frequent outfield duties are Chelsea Johnson and Ripplinger.

Bemidji had its first three games postponed by snow. The Little Falls game has been reset for April 20 and the Eveleth contest for May 7. Yet to be reset is West Fargo.

The team faces a busy schedule next week, hosting Moorhead Tuesday before taking to the road for games at Grand Rapids Thursday, Chaska Friday and Mounds View and Tartan Saturday.