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BHS softball team finally faces first foe Monday

The Bemidji High softball team hopes to keep up its winning tradition when it opens the new season with a mixture of veterans and newcomers. After five weeks of indoor drills, and four postponements in as many games, the girls return to square on...

The Bemidji High softball team hopes to keep up its winning tradition when it opens the new season with a mixture of veterans and newcomers.

After five weeks of indoor drills, and four postponements in as many games, the girls return to square one to replay the first lost game tomorrow at 4:30 hosting West Fargo.

It will be the first of six games this week with at least three more set next week.

The girls ended 15-9 last spring, their seventh straight winning year under Brad Takkunen, dividing their four post season games, the two losses each coming by one run.

The last came to Thief River Falls which fell to Brainerd in the next round with Brainerd losing the sub-section final to Alexandria which lost to Willmar two games to one in the section playoff.

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In those seven years, the team has won 123 games and lost only 46.

Takkunen begins his 12th season at the helm aided again by Amy Skala with Merry Kenow coaching the B Team and Tom Strommer the freshmen.

Graduation cut a wide swath last spring taking starters Lindsey Gullickson, Aryn Ball, Whitney Restemayer, Sara Faver, Brooke Hastig and Nikki McKinnon and key reserves Lauren Bradel, Allison Kinnander and Abbi Mistic.

Gullickson has been the mainstay of the pitching staff the past two years going 10-6 last spring, two of the losses coming in the tournament.

But there are seven letter winners back including seniors Rachel Barckholtz, Brittany Black, Amy Boyer, Courtney Josefson, Nicole Stevens and Justine Ossman and junior Amber Crunden.

Most of these have been waiting in the wings for their day to come. Hopefully it has arrived.

Replacements will move up from the B and C Team ranks. That team was 11-4 last spring with one game never reported.

These include senior Elissa Port, juniors Paula Chwialkowski, Julie Erickson, Terran Chambers, Chelsey Ramsrud and Courtney Truax, and sophs Brittany Thompson, Amber Teal, Haley Johnson, Megan Gullickson, Kaia Sele, Meg Claypool and Chelsey Yost.

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The lone newcomer is senior Alice Storey.

Ossman, who went 5-2 last year as the second hurler, seems to have a lock on leading the mound staff with Yost and Port hurling on the B Team last spring and Crunden pitching for that unit in 2005 before moving to the varsity last year.

Black will begin her third season behind the plate with Boyer seemingly a fixture in the outfield and Josefson in the infield. She may shift from third to short this year.

Takkunen views the sophomore group as extremely promising and figures some of that crew may earn varsity spots before the year is over.

Joining the seven letter winners on the varsity to open the season will be Sele, Claypool, Teal, Thompson, Port and Storey.

The B Team will open with Corrie Dunshee, Erika Bauer, Gullickson, Johnson, Kasey Malterud, Tara Ripplinger, Ashley White, Yost, Erickson, Ramsrud, Erickson, Ramsrud and Truax.

The team hosts Moorhead Tuesday and Grand Rapids Thursday before playing three games Saturday at the Detroit Lakes Invitational.

The Eveleth-Gilbert postponement will be made up next Monday.

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Other home games in a brief schedule will come with Thief River and Crookston.

The team returns to the Cloquet Invitational late in the year.

The only home and home set is with Moorhead, a team Bemidji beat three times last spring.

The North Sub-section meet opens May 22 with a double elimination format with the best of three section meet May 31-June 1, opening with one game in the south.

The state meet returns to Mankato June 8-9.

There could be a new section champ this year with Willmar's four-year run of dominating pitching having come to an end. The Cardinals have won the section the past four seasons, twice beating Bemidji in the final.

Ossman is the likely starter today with Black behind the plate.

The infield could find Barckholtz, Thompson, Josefson and Claypool with Stevens, Boyer and Crunden in the outfield.

SOFTBALL

Apr. 5 West Fargo 4:30

Apr. 10 Eveleth-Gilbert 4:30

Apr. 14 at Little Falls Triangular

Bemidji vs. Little Falls 11:00

Bemidji vs. Fergus Falls 1:00

Apr. 17 Moorhead 4:30

Apr. 17 Bemidji C at TRF (2)

Apr. 19 Grand Rapids 4:30

Apr. 21 at Detroit Lakes Invitational

Apr. 21 Bemidji C at DL Invitational

Apr. 24 at Hermantown

Apr. 26 at Duluth East

May 1 at Coleraine

May 3 at Moorhead

May 8 at Thief River Falls 4:30

May 10 at Red River

May 12 Cloquet Invitational

May 14 Crookston 4:30

May 18 at Brainerd

May 18 Brainerd at Bemidji C (2)

May 22 8-3A North

May 24 8-3A North

May 28 8-3A North

May 29 8-3A North final

May 31 8-3A, South half field

June 1 8-3A, North half field (2)

June 8 State, Mankato

June 9 State, Mankato

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