Team chemistry a plus for Mounds View softball

Some may scoff at the notion that team chemistry can make or break a team, but Mounds View High School fastpitch softball head coach Frank Roth isn't one of them. He is counting on the ability of his players to get along almost as much as their playing ability.

Over the past two seasons, Roth saw squads that never really came together. He is not worried about that happening this spring.

"They've developed a good chemistry," Roth said. "They seem to really enjoy each other."

The current players who were also on those previous teams are determined to not let that happen again.

"The girls that are back this year understand what that's like," Roth said. "It's been more positive. If we're all trying to make each other better, you're going to have a better experience and it should pay off on the field."

And it's not like Roth is discounting the talent on this year's team. He is very enthused about what kind of ballplayers make up the roster.

Nine members of the 2015 Mustangs played on a team that last summer finished fourth at nationals. Junior Becky Volkert is one of those players and she headlines Mounds View's pitching staff this spring.

"She grew as far as experience, knowledge and softball sense last summer," Roth said.

Also on that successful summer team were Erin O'Dougherty, Olivia Klejewski, Kristina Rosenow, Annie Hentges, Tess Martin, Brooke Olson, Bailey Thompson and Abby Wittham.

Completing the main battery for this season is senior catcher Jacky Volkert, Becky's older sister.

"She's as good as anybody in the state (at catcher)," Roth said.

Maddy Lavalle is another senior on the roster and this is her third season of varsity softball.

Marissa Peschel and Jeanna Lavalle are a pair of sophomores who could also figure into the lineup at times.

Rounding out the roster is freshman Carly St. George, who, while only a ninth grader, is on the varsity roster for the second year.

"She lives and breathes softball, and she's very good," Roth said. "She just belongs there."

Being competitive game in and game out is an important goal Roth has for his team this season.

"I don't think we're going to be the most dominant team out there, but when we play, they know the game and it should be a good contest," Roth said.

Through the first two weeks of the season, Mounds View is 2-3. Following a three-game losing streak to open the season, the Mustangs picked up their first two victories last week.

Win No. 1 came on April 15 against previously unbeaten Woodbury. Mounds View broke the game open with four runs in the top of the third and that was more than enough. Hentges paced the offense with a two-run home run.

Mounds View followed up the Woodbury win with a 9-6 victory over Roseville. The Mustangs pounded out nine hits and eight of the runs they scored were earned. Becky Volkert picked up the win despite giving up six runs on 12 hits and five walks.

The upcoming week is Mounds View's busiest of the season with six games on the docket. The Mustangs played at East Ridge on Monday, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin. They return home on Wednesday to host White Bear Lake and then play at Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday.

The week concludes Saturday with a trip to Rochester for three games in the Lourdes Tournament. Among the teams scheduled to compete are Minnehaha Academy, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Mayo, St. Paul Como Park, Spring Lake Park, Stewartville and the host Eagles.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.
 

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