Eau Claire (WQOW) – Girls softball is scheduled to start this next week, and in the Big Rivers Chippewa Falls is the team with the bulls eye on their backs. The Cardinals cruised through the conference at eleven-and-one and made it to state for the first time since 2015.
A loss in the quarterfinals to Burlington ended their season, and the team has once again set their sights on the big stage.
“I know that for me personally, I don’t want that to happen again,” says junior shortstop/catcher Alisia Palms. “I want to go back to Goodman really bad, so I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there. And I know that my teammates are going to do that too.”
One of the biggest challenges heading into this 2019 is replacing that group of senior production. The top four hitters are gone, who combined for over sixty percent of the team’s hits. The Cards do return a pair of seniors in Mallory Sterling and Abby Staves.
“I think finding the right lineup is going to be interesting because right now I had spots that were filled by great players and I think just finding the right mix for us is what is going to be my challenge,” says Head Coach Kate Fjelstad. “We have the players, we just need to figure out the mix”
They start the season with a new approach at the plate, and they’re confident they’ll get the job done.
“I have a new hitting technique and it’s definitely one that was hard to learn, but we’ve been really working on it at the beginning of this season,” says senior first baseman Abby Staves. “Hopefully it helps us to become a big powerful hitting team again.”
One position that the Cardinals don’t have to worry about is inside the circle. First- team, all-state pitcher Mallory Sterling returns following a season where she won over twenty games and had an ERA just over two.
“She’s a really good pitcher and she’s improved a lot too this year,” says Palms. “And I think just knowing that we have her on the mound and that she’ll get things going for us, that is really a good confidence booster.”
Even Sterling knows that when she’s on, they’ve got the advantage.
“After the first inning I know, oh I’ve got this, this is my game,” says Sterling. “I’m in control.That’s when I know that I’m on, and after that I just have control over the whole game.
The Cardinals are scheduled to open the season Friday April 5, at Casper Park.