Coming fresh off a season where the Royals finished 15-13 overall (6-10 in conference), Head Coach Kory Boehmer has expressed optimism that the squad can compete in what he believes to be one of the most balanced conferences in all D2 NJCAA softball.
"While the national champion may not come out of the MonDak, it seems to be one of the most balanced conferences in the nation this year, more so than in the past," Boehmer explained.
This quote has already proven to be true with just seven games under the Royals' belt thus far in which they have gone 3-4. This includes wins over fellow MonDak teams like Williston State College and North Dakota State College of Science in nonconference play. As well as dropping a few games to Dakota College at Bottineau, a rematch with NDSCS, and a hard fought 4-2 loss to the defending MonDak conference champions Dawson Community College.
On the Road
Next on the schedule is a road trip in March to Arizona over Spring Break. The Royals' Arizona trip will have a total of six games including matchups with Dawson CC (nonconference game) and South Mountain CC (Arizona) to name a few. Later in March, the team heads to Minneapolis for the DCTC Region 13 Early Bird Tournament with games against Gogebic Community College (Michigan) and Bay College (Wisconsin). Following the Early Bird Tournament will be the Royals' home opener series vs. Dakota County Technical College on March 30th and March 31st. The Royals will then travel for a date with the Jamestown JV on April 3rd before their grueling conference schedule will finally begin.
Sophomore Sadie Schilling returns for the Lady Royals fresh off a season in which she received votes for all-conference and so far, she has proven why, batting .474 with 2 triples and a home run in just seven games. Freshman Samantha Shumway has also been a stick for the team, batting .400 and leading the team with 8 RBI in just 7 games. Freshman Tehani Yamamoto and Sophomore Madison Foss have also been key contributors in the lineup, batting .417 and .385 respectively.
On the mound thus far, Freshman Lexi Davis has been a workhorse for the Lady Royals. She has already thrown a whopping 22 K's in just 16.2 IP compared to only 4 walks, while posting a very impressive 1.68 ERA.
Boehmer believes how his freshmen pitch will go a long way in determining how the season goes for the Royals.
Sophomore veterans Precious-Unique Rawlins and Kendra Karl will be relied upon to be leaders for the team now having a season under their belt. Sophomore Alysha Moser may be found at a variety of positions for the Royals with her ability to play almost anywhere, with the same being said for Freshman Tyra Robertson who leads the team in AB's through seven games. Mariah Parker, Cecilia Lucero and Jaelynn Jenkins will need to contribute as well if the team hopes to succeed.
When asked about the expectations for the Royals throughout the spring, Coach Boehmer is confident the Royals can compete with all teams and should be in the conference mix.
"Seasons usually come down to getting on rolls and we hope to be on the good side of those rolls." Boehmer said. "We graduated 8 sophomores and brought in 11 freshmen, but with junior college only being 2 years, every year is a new team and new dynamics. Building continuity quickly is important for being successful."
Boehmer was asked about the Royals' main goal for this spring and he did not shy away from the question,
"Our main goal is to win the conference championship. That has always been the goal every year. It will never be easy with how strong our conference is, but that has always been the goal. As far as a secondary goal, making nationals would be a big thing for our program. Again, our region will be very tough, but if we can get on a roll at the right time anything can happen."
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