The Minneota-Canby Vikings are: (front row, left to right) Emily Pohlen, Sydney Larson, Katie Friehl and Brooklyn Nelson. Second Row: Abby Hennen, Audra Buysse and Abby Rangaard. Third Row: Kaylee Johnson and Madison Sorensen. Back Row: Katie Konold.

Larson-Nelson duo returns

When Brooklyn Nelson tore her Achilles tendon during volleyball practice, she feared losing far more than the volleyball season. She’s also expected to be the starting pitcher for the Minneota-Canby Softball team.

“Brooklyn Nelson was just given the okay to return to sports after here ACL surgery in the fall,” said Coach Heidi Boerboom. The coach added, “I’m very excited to have her back on the mound.”

That’s particularly good news since the team lost Canby graduate Becca Kalhoff.

“Replacing Becca will be very difficult, both offensively and defensively. She had a tremendous year on the mound for us,” said Boerboom. A year ago Kalhoff walked only 15 batters the entire season.

“Her leadership was also valuable to our team. Larissa Kockelman will also be missed,” said the coach.

However, Kockelman has returned as a “volunteer coach” to lend her expertise tot he team. Yet, at this time, “We’re still trying to figure out the outfield, but we have the athletes to get it done,” said the coach.

Katie Friehl of Canby is the only returning senior and she’s played a lot of outfield — but could also get some time on the infield. Perhaps the mainstay of the team is catcher (and part-tome pitcher) Sydney Larson.

She’s the power hitter for this team and when not catching, will see some time on the mound. “Sydney is coming along as a pitcher and will continue to catch too. Sydney led the team in hitting last year,” said the coach.

When she’s pitching, Abby Hennen is likely to take up the catching duties. Hennen also plays infield and outfield and was one of team’s leading hitters a year ago.

Other returning letter winners include outfielder Emily Pohlen, Kaylee Johnson, third baseman Madison Sorensen, and Katie Konold.

“Friehl is fast on the bases and in outfield,” coach Boerboom said. She will be counted on as one of the veterans this year.

“Madison Sorensen is as good as any third baseperson that I have ever seen here — and that was as a freshman,” said the coach.

“I look for Emily to have a big season. She injured her knee last year and had to sit out the last half of the schedule. But she’s a solid player who can hit the ball hard and play almost anywhere on the field,” said Coach Boerboom.

She added that Abby Hennen is another athlete that can play anywhere.

With Sydney taking on more responsibility on the mound, Abby will be spending more time behind the plate. “She can hit and runs the bases aggressively.”

There are also several youngsters coming up through the season that could help this year. When it comes to the Camden Conference, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and Lac qui Parle Valley are probably the teams to beat this year.

Oh, let’s not forget to put Minneota-Canby in that group as well.

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