De Soto High School softball team

Members of the 2019 De Soto softball team include (front, from left) Rachel Gianoli, Riley Anderson, Ava Brosinski, Jenna Krzewinski; (middle) Camry Venner, Kelcie Ziegler, Cierra Spears, Lilly Runice, Ellie Greeno , Paighton Paighton Fox, Haevyn Kuhnke; (back) Eva Russell-Miller, Mckenzie Moser, Ellie George, Emma Overby, Madelyn Jacobson, Jordan Young, Jenna Gianoli, April Haakenson, Valerie Osthoff, Mia Helgeson and Zoey Boardman.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” is the motto of the 2019 De Soto softball team, says Tony Paletta who is in his 16th season as head coach of De Soto Pirate Softball.

This year after the graduation of: catcher/pitcher Jenna Trussoni: Second team All Ridge and Valley First Team with a BA of .563, 48 RBIs; infielder Susanna Dammon: All Ridge and Valley, Ridge and Valley First Team had a BA of .386, 1 HR, and 23 RBIs; outfielder Lane Buchner: Honorable Mention All-Conference: BA .357, with 9 RBIs; and infielder Olivia Strasser: BA .367, RBI 17, Paletta will dig into his bag of tricks for talent.

Paletta says, “The Pirates have their Ace back on the mound in Jordan Young; Riley Anderon will be back in centerfield, and Jenna Krezwinski is again behind the plate.”

Historically, it is rare for Paletta to not have some veteran players back to be the foundation of his team. This year is no different as the Pirates will field three seniors: center fielder and Team Captain Riley Anderson: First Team All Ridge and Valley Selection .536 BA, 11 RBI; third baseman Ava Brosinski: team captain: First Team All Ridge and Valley Selection .353 BA, 6 RBI; and senior catcher Jenna Krzewinski: First Team All Ridge and Valley Selection .426 BA, 13 RBI, as well as Junior Team Captain Rachel Gianoli at first base and catching: .414 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI; and sophomore pitcher and outfielder Jordan Young: 4-1, 4.23 ERA, 44K, 39W with a .448BA, 9RBI at the plate.

Paletta says that like every year, the Pirates’ weaknesses and biggest challenges are, “Losing two great senior captains that have been a huge part of our program.” Paletta adds, “We will also be very young at some key positions.”

“We lost a lot of key players to graduation...we only have three seniors this year, so our team is pretty young, but there’s a lot of talent. I think it will be a season of learning and growing as a team. I’m excited to see what we can do,” says Ava Brosinski.

Team captain Rachel Gianoli is pumped to take the field. “We are really looking forward to this upcoming season; we have a lot of talented underclassmen that have a lot of potential, most of whom are playing up to varsity.” Gianoli is impressed by the team’s senior leaders as well, “The seniors have done a great job of providing the underclassmen a good example of what is expected of a winning team.” Gianoli says that, “The seniors that we have are so much fun to be around and are such great ball players.” Gianoli thinks that, “We have a lot of promise and there’s some good chemistry. I definitely look forward to playing with these girls and can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us.”

Veteran varsity catcher, Jenna Krzewinski in her final year playing Pirate softball says, “We may be young as a team, so most may look at us as underdogs but in reality I think we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

“I’m very excited for this upcoming season, since it is my senior year. I’ve also been recovering from a knee injury and haven’t been able to participate in any sports up until now,” says Riley Anderson. “Considering we are a very young team, we might have our downs, but I think that if we come together through talking, we will go far this season.”

While Paletta predicts that Ithaca and Wauzeka will both have good teams, “We should challenge for the Ridge and Valley championship again this season.” The Pirates lost four starters from last season, but there is much to be positive about. Fortunately for the Pirates, “We are looking at many different options. We have a talented sophomore class that will challenge some of our upperclassmen for playing time,” says Paletta.

Pirate fans can look forward to another great year of softball.

“We have a big and talented sophomore class coming in that look to solidify some of vacancies left by graduating seniors,” Paletta says. “Many of those sophomores saw playing time in 2018 as part of a 13-6 season. “These kids have played a lot of softball preparing for this, which has really become evident in practice.”

Assistants are Guy Boardman and Mandi Boardman.

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Greg and his wife Ellen Koelker are retired and live on Grouse Hollow Farm near Stoddard. He is chairman of the Vernon County Chapter of Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

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