The New Berlin West softball team is coming off an outstanding season and has plenty of returning pieces to defend their championship, according to co-coach Greg Klotz.
The Vikings were 16-2 in Woodland Conference action as they won the Blue Division and finished 19-5 overall.
"We expect to compete and we now have a lot of experience to go with our athletic ability," Klotz said. "We are returning eight starters from last year, including five starters who have won back-to-back conference championships.
"We have very solid pitching and more depth, a variety of offensive weapons that combine power, speed and contact and a starting defensive core that can play multiple positions," he continued. "The players are very aware of what they are capable of with hard work and have started the season with an intensity to prove it."
The returning letter winners are led by infielder/outfielder Mallory Klotz, a third-team All-State selection and first-team All-District, All-Area, All-Suburban, All-Woodland and All-Woodland Blue. She batted .544, with 36 runs scored, 33 stolen bases, a .656 on-base average and an 824 slugging percentage. She set eight school records.
There are also three first-team All-Woodland Blue Division players returning: senior pitcher Abby Kunz (13-4, 147 K), senior Alison Kuhne (. 400, 27 RBI) and senior outfielder/pitcher Carey Devine (. 385, .468 OBA, 27 RBI).
Three other returnees were second-team selections: senior infielder/outfielder Kelly Duggan and juniors catcher Hannah Just and outfielder/infielder Kailey Nealon. Junior third baseman Hannah Buth is the other returning letter winner.
Klotz has some promising newcomers also.
Junior Erin Arnas, last year's JV Defensive MVP (. 547 BA), sophomore pitcher Karissa Harenda, who led JV pitchers with a 5-0 record and 46 strikeouts while also hitting .581, and junior pitcher Cara Mauermann, junior catcher Holly Tyler and junior outfielder Jenna Szalewski are players to watch.
"We will need to maintain focus, as our conference has changed and we face some very good teams," he said. "We need to stay hungry and work together as a team to achieve our goals."
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