By Craig Marx, Editor
Adjustments will have to be retooled for the Antigo Lady Robins softball team’s infield this season as the club opens open play this week, and Coach Sandi Robrecht has her young ladies ready for the upcoming season.
Key losses include the entire right side of Robrecht’s infield from the 2016 season in the now-graduated Montana Aiuppy and Morgana Smith. Laynie Weix is projected to take one of the now vacant positions where she impressed her coach enough last year in the opportunities she was presented.
Back on the mound is ace in the hole Allison Kondzela, whose omnipresence on the mound will be supported by Kendall Smith.
“Allison will definitely get her reps in, but Kendall will also get some too,” Coach Robrecht assured.
Kondzela is coming off of a particularly exceptional 2016 campaign in which she posted Great Northern Conference numbers of six wins, 71 strikeouts, and 2.86 ERA – each falling into the Top 5 of their respective categories in the GNC. Of the 73 total innings of conference ball for Antigo, Kondzela pitched 66 of them.
Antigo finished 13-11 overall and 7-5 in conference play last season, finishing exactly middle of the pack in a seven-team GNC that proves to be highly competitive. Last year’s conference title belonged to Rhinelander, a team that went 19-3 overall and 12-0 against fellow Great Northern opponents.
Coach Robrecht predicts the Hodags to be tough again in 2017.
Offensively, Antigo returns two of its conference standouts from last season in Alivia Weix and Laurissa Belott. Weix finished in No. 7 in the GNC with a .458 average, while Belott led the home run category with four shots over the fence.
One of the more difficult aspects of spring sports is the time allotted to practice while hoping that the weather will be able to cooperate. As of mid-week last week, the Lady Robins had just two weeks of preparation – the majority of which was forced to be held indoors because of unfavorable field conditions – in order to get ready for the upcoming season.
The Lady Robins should know where they stand with some stiff early season competition. Opening up with Laona-Wabeno on April 4th and hosting GNC foe Tomahawk on April 6th, Antigo will make its now annual trip to the Woodside Sporting Complex in Mauston, Wisc., beginning on April 7th. The two-day, three-game jaunt begins with a major test for the Lady Robins as Antigo opens the weekend against Delavan-Darien, a team that lost just 1-0 to New Berlin West in the WIAA Division II state championship game.
“I’m looking forward to those games [in Mauston],” Coach Robrecht said. “We’ll really know where we are at after that. I expect Rhinelander, Mosinee, and Antigo to be on top of the GNC, but Tomahawk has really improved along with Lakeland, who picked up a freshman pitching prospect from Kimberly. We need good, strong leadership from our seniors this year.”
2017 AHS Softball Schedule
Tuesday, April 4 – vs. Laona-Wabeno – Lake Park Field (4:30 PM)
Tuesday, April 6 – vs. Tomahawk – Lake Park Field (5 PM)
Friday, April 7 – vs. Delavan-Darien – Woodside Sporting Complex (Mauston, WI – 5 PM)
Saturday, April 8 – vs. Mauston – Woodside Sporting Complex (Mauston, WI – 10:45 AM)
Saturday, April 8 – vs. Adams-Friendship – Woodside Sporting Complex (Mauston, WI – 12:30 PM)
Monday, April 10 – vs. Three Lakes – Lake Park Field (4:30 PM)
Tuesday, April 11 – at Lakeland – Lakeland Union High School (5 PM)
Thursday, April 13 – vs. Northland Pines – Lake Park Field (5 PM)
Tuesday, April 18 – at Medford – Medford Area Elementary School (5 PM)
Thursday, April 20 – vs. Rhinelander – Lake Park Field (5 PM)
Tuesday, April 25 – at Mosinee – Mosinee Boulevard Turf Field (5 PM)
Thursday, April 27 – at Marshfield – Marshfield Fairgrounds Park (4:30 PM)
Friday, April 28 – vs. Wausau West – Lake Park Field (4:30 PM)
Monday, May 1 – at Crandon – Crandon High School (5 PM)
Tuesday, May 2 – at Tomahawk – Tomahawk High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 4 – vs. Lakeland – Lake Park Field (5 PM)
Saturday, May 6 – Merrill Tournament – Merrill Area Recreation Center (10 AM)
Monday, May 8 – vs. Wausau East – Lake Park Field (4:30 PM)
Tuesday, May 9 – at Northland Pines – Northland Pines High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 11 – vs. Medford – Lake Park Field (5 PM)
Saturday, May 13 – at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (Doubleheader) – Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School (12 PM)
Tuesday, May 16 – at Rhinelander – Pioneer Park Softball Field (5 PM)
Thursday, May 18 – vs. Mosinee – Lake Park Field (5 PM)