2012 Spring Preview: Nine return to Woodbury softball teamLongtime Woodbury softball coach Bob Samson has nine players from last year’s team returning. However, the challenge will be to replace its ace Abbie Morris.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Like every spring, some things change and some stay the same.
Longtime Woodbury softball coach Bob Samson returns for his 14th year leading the Royals this spring. He’ll have a solid core coming back, with nine players from last year’s team returning. However, the challenge will be to replace its ace Abbie Morris.
Morris was a two-year starter for the Royals and also provided a big bat in the middle of the Royals lineup.
Senior pitcher Ali Jacobson and junior pitcher Brooke Pantila will be tasked with filling Morris’ shoes in the pitching circle. Key returning players include senior captains Alex Benedict, a catcher, and Josie Ryan, an outfielder. Other top returners include senior first baseman Amanda Retica, senior second baseman Emily Beedle, junior shortstop Jamie Reetz, senior third baseman Sam Kosel and senior outfielders Chloe Richter and Jackie Bandholz.
“With many returning players we are excited about our 2012 season prospects,” Samson said. “We expect to be a very strong team in the best softball conference in the state.”
Last year, Hill-Murray put an end to Woodbury’s 2011 season Tuesday with a 5-1 victory in the second round of the Section 4AAA playoffs. Woodbury finished 8-9 overall and 5-9 in the Suburban East Conference.
It’s expected by most that defending state champion Hastings, along with Stillwater and Forest Lake will be the teams to beat in the SEC this season. In post-season play, the teams standing in the way of the state tournament are expected to be Stillwater and perennial power North St. Paul.
The start of the schedule couldn’t get much tougher for the Royals. Woodbury opens its season at home against Forest Lake on Monday, then travels to take on Hastings on Wednesday, April 11, before taking on Mounds View on April 12 and rival Park on April 14.