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PREP SOFTBALL: RRC softball teams dust off the gloves

File Photo Worthington's Aleanna Heig (4) avoids the tag of Southwestern United's Mariah Crowell to steal second base in the top of the fifth inning of a softball game at Centennial Field in Worthington.

SLAYTON -- After taking second in the Red Rock Conference last season, the Murray County Central Rebels softball team is ready to make a play for the conference title.

"We have both pitchers back from last year and our defense has experience at the key positions," MCC coach James Wajer said. "I think that our leadership from our veterans will be key to our success."

If the Rebels hope to compete for the top spot in the division, they will need to find a way to replace two starting infielders who graduated from last year's team.

"We lost our corner infield in Mackenzie Giese and Courtney Blomgren," Wajer said. "Both were starters for three years and their leadership will be missed."

Wajer will be looking for experienced and younger players alike to step up and contribute in a variety of ways for his team this season.

"We will need to fill the positions that were left by the seniors from last year," Wajer said. "Those newcomers will have to adjust to varsity softball and their teammates that have played in the past will have to step up."

One thing Wajer wants the Rebels to do differently this season is to stay focused throughout the season and not let up during games.

"We cannot take any days off," Wajer said. "We need to strive to reach our goals, both individually and as a team."

Consistency is also a concern for Murray County Central, according to Wajer.

"We need to be consistent throughout the year," Wajer said. "We don't want any regrets at the end of the season. I am expecting us to improve every day."

The Rebels are scheduled to host Edgerton/Southwest Christian Tuesday, weather permitting.

Falcons hope to be competitive

Despite finishing their Red Rock Conference season with a 4-6 record, the Red Rock Central Falcons finished tied for third with Mountain Lake Area.

This season, RRC coach Derek Stevenson hopes his team will be competitive throughout the season.

"I hope that we are competitive this year," Stevenson said. "And I hope we can win a few games and build for the future."

The Falcons have only six upperclassmen on their roster after losing seven seniors from last year's squad.

"I lost seven seniors, and six of them started on a regular basis," Stevenson said. "We will be very young and I expect we will have a large number of freshman and sophomores seeing regular playing time."

Stevenson believes RRC needs to improve in all facets of their game if they are going to succeed this spring.

"We need to get consistent pitching and fielding, with some timely hitting," Stevenson said. "Our pitching needs to improve and become somewhat consistent."

The Falcons are scheduled to travel to Comfry/Cedar Mountain today, weather permitting.

Wildcats expect to be in hunt this season

In her first season as head coach of the Southwestern United Wildcats, Angie Rogotzke likes what she sees in her young team.

"We are very young, but everyone is very dedicated and hard working," Rogotzke said. "They are willing to listen and learn new things."

Last season the Wildcats won three games in the Red Rock Conference and only six games total.

"The girls want to do better than they did before," Rogotzke said. "When the players are all so dedicated and want to improve, that makes it fun as a coach."

So far this season, the Wildcats have been struggling at the plate, but Rogotzke feels there are a few things the team can do to rectify the situation.

"We haven't been hitting really well and I think we need to be a little more aggressive with our at-bats," Rogotzke said. "Good things will come if we can make contact with the ball."

One of Southwestern United's strengths this year will be there defense.

"Our defense is working pretty well," Rogotzke said. "We have been talking a lot out in the field and we've been communicating really well as a whole."

Even with a young team, Rogotzke still believes her team can make things happen once they make it to the section tournament.

"I expect us to be in the hunt when we get into sectional play," Rogotzke said. "I think we will learn as the season goes on and hopefully we can make a push for the state tournament in the near future."

The Wildcats are scheduled to host Russell-Tyler-Ruthton today.

Dragons want to contend in Red Rock Conference

Finishing last in the Red Rock Conference did not sit well with the Adrian Dragons last season and coach Dean Schnaible knows his team can do better this year.

"We want to be competitive and be in contention for a Red Rock Conference title," Schnaible said. "We want to improve our record so we can have a winning season and get a higher seed in post-season play."

Even though they lost two solid players to graduation last year, Schnaible believes his eight seniors will be able to pick up the slack and lead by example.

"We lost one of our pitchers, a second baseman and our third baseman," Schnaible said. "But we have a few upperclassmen that are ready to make an impact on this team. I see senior outfielder Jasmin Flores having the potential to have a breakout season this year."

With 13 of its 17 players being juniors or seniors, one thing Adrian won't be lacking this year is experience. And that experience should lead to a cohesive unit that can play well as a team.

"We had a lot of team chemistry last year and with so many girls coming back this season, I can see that carrying over to this year," Schnaible said. "We also had a strong work ethic and it looks like we will have that again this season."

After winning just four games all of last season, Schnaible knows his team will need to do a better job in every phase of the game if they hope to move up the RRC standings.

"We need to improve in all areas of the game," Schnaible said. "It won't be easy, but I know we can do it."

The Dragons are scheduled travel to Lakeview Friday, weather permitting.

Dutchmen look to repeat as RRC champs

With only a single loss in the Red Rock Conference last season, the Edgerton/Southwest Christian Flying Dutchmen will look to once again sit atop the conference this season.

If the Dutchmen are to have a shot at repeating as conference champs, they will need to rely on their six seniors to carry the load.

However, E/SWC cannot hope to make a deep run into the section playoffs unless its eight sophomores can step up and contribute on a regular basis.

The Dutchmen are scheduled to take on Murray County Central in Slayton Tuesday.

Wolverines wish to move up in standings

After claiming third place in the Red Rock Conference last season, the Mountain Lake Area Wolverines will be looking to make a move up the standings this season.

The senior laden Wolverines won't be left wanting in the experience department.

However, MLA only has 10 players on their varsity roster, which means everyone will see a lot of playing time throughout the season.

If the Wolverines hope to make any kind of run to the top of the conference standings, they will need to play better at home on a regular basis. MLA finished last season with a 1-4 record at home and a 6-7 record on the road.

The Wolverines are scheduled to take on Southwestern United on the road Tuesday.