The Libby Lady Logger softball squad returns nine players with significant varsity experience in one of Montana’s toughest conferences.
Coach Dean Thompson is cautiously optimistic that his veteran group can compete for a top-three spot — and the playoff berth that comes with it — in a Northwest A Conference that includes the top-three teams in last year’s state tournament.
Reigning All-Conference senior outfielder Kelsey Klin will lead a team that lost only two seniors. While the team is heavy in experience, outfielder Brooke Rosling is the team’s only other senior.
The Lady Loggers return several juniors with starting experience. The team will be one to watch if those upperclassmen can take a leap in production, and perhaps no player’s development will be more impactful than junior starting pitcher Hannah England.
“We expect to be solid defensively,” Thompson said. “We are going to need to win some conference games. Frenchtown was the state champion last season. Polson got second and Columbia Falls got third. It’s a tough conference, but we should be competitive.”
Every infield position will be filled by a returning starter. Junior second baseman Rachel Rebo will handle second base after earning All-Conference second team honors at the position last year. Fellow juniors Auria Benefield and Mahalah Wedel will start for the second consecutive season at third base and short stop, respectively. First base and catcher will interchangeably be occupied by Dayln Germany and Devon Gallagher, a pair of juniors trading in basketball shoes for cleats as the weather warms.
The Lady Loggers open their season Saturday in Polson with a doubleheader against Anaconda and Butte Central. The team will make its home debut April 5.