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The Drill: Trojans' Nelson embraces team's softball possibilities

Worthington girls fast-pitch softball player Lauren Nelson and her teammates are looking forward to a challenging, rewarding season

Worthington Trojans softball player Lauren Nelson believes there can be promising things ahead for the Trojans.  Tim Middagh / The Globe
Worthington Trojans softball player Lauren Nelson believes there can be promising things ahead for the Trojans. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- A uniquely successful season has a way of focusing a team on the possibilities that exist.

In 2021, the Worthington High School girls fast-pitch softball team learned how much fun it can be to experience a deep run in the Section 2AAA tournament. What’s more, they knew then that many of those same players who participated in that remarkable season were coming back for 2022. And now that 2022 is here, coaches and players are determined to do everything they can to make the most of it.

One of those players is junior Lauren Nelson, whose experience -- and lively bat -- will have something to say about whether the Trojans accomplish their lofty goals of reaching the state tournament. Nelson, who had to be talked into continuing in softball two years ago after losing interest after one summer-ball season, now loves the game again.

Good thing, too, because last spring she batted a hefty .390. And this year, she’s making a move from second base to handle the “hot corner” at third base where her ability to field bunts and line drives will help solidify the entire infield.

Also a volleyball and hockey player, Nelson’s hitting abilities will come in handy in the middle of the Trojans’ spring softball lineup. She and her teammates will face some dangerous pitchers this year -- pitchers who throw hard, who place their rise-balls high in the strike zone where lesser hitters won’t be able to catch up to them -- pitchers who can throw drop-balls just below the knees of unsuspecting batters. But Nelson has already seen it all.

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“When I get to the plate I always try to just watch the ball come in to make sure that I’m gonna be able to make contact with it,” Nelson said recently. “On faster pitchers you have to do it a little different, on slower (pitchers) you just have to adjust to your pitch and pay attention to what the coaches say.”

Worthington Trojans softball player Lauren Nelson.  04 06 22
Worthington Trojans softball player Lauren Nelson believes there are promising things ahead for the Trojans this spring. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe

She adds, “I would say the hardest thing about hitting a fast softball is getting your timing right, because if your timing’s not right everything will be off.”

The Trojans are all hoping their timing is right this year. If it is, this might be the year the program makes history.

We interviewed Lauren Nelson for a Drill episode recently as she stood next to the Trojan statue in the lobby of the high school. You can see a video of Nelson online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: Tell us something you’re working on this spring to help the team become successful.

ANSWER: “I play third base this year. Last year I played second, and I’m switching over to third this year. Being a third baseman, you always have to be ready. A lot of times I get moved up to take the bunt away. You always have to be ready and make sure you know what’s going on on the field so you can communicate and do what’s needed.”

QUESTION: Who inspires you in sports?

ANSWER: “I would say who inspires me the most are my coaches and teammates because Grim (assistant coach Brad Grimmius) and Moz (head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka), they’re always pushing me to work as hard as I can because they know we can all be better athletes. … And my teammates, because we’re always competing against each other and working hard to get to state because we all have the same goal at state.”

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QUESTION: Tell us the most unusual thing about you.

ANSWER: “I would say the most unusual thing about me is that I was going to quit softball until two years ago when Grim and some of my teammates came and asked if I would play. And I decided to. And now, looking back, I’m very glad I did, because it’s now one of my favorite sports -- or IS my favorite sport.”

Related Topics: THE DRILLSOFTBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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