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Prep softball: Superior names Gidley new coach

Jan. 22—SUPERIOR — With two months left before the season starts, the top softball program in the area has announced a new coach.

Bobbijean Gidley will take the helm at Superior this spring after the Spartans advanced to the state tournament each of the past two seasons, including a runner-up finish in 2023.

Before taking on the head coaching job in Superior, Gidley was the junior varsity coach for the Spartans and in Proctor. Gidley played collegiately at Wisconsin-Superior and also is a teacher in the Superior school district.

Superior has emerged as not only one of the top softball programs in the area, but also among the best in Wisconsin.

In previous coach Mike Sather's final season, the Spartans compiled a 27-1 record,

losing only to back-to-back state champion Kaukauna in the Wisconsin Division 1 championship game.

"I am very optimistic about taking on the program," Gidley said in a news release. "That optimism is coming from a large group of people that will be joining my coaching staff. While softball is a team sport, coaching softball is even more of a team battle. By being able to work with other experts on the sport, or even experts in different positions, I feel like we will be setting our players up for success.

"With many returning varsity players and some new faces to the starting lineup, our girls will be able to show off their excessive talent and how much hard work they continuously put in in the offseason."

Gidley will have some challenges in replacing

two-time All-Area Player of the Year Emma Raye

and pitcher Haley Zembo. Raye left for the Big Ten's Northwestern, while Zembo is playing at Winona State this season.

The Spartans do return plenty of talent, however, in Melania Luostari, Ari Robillard and Paige "Peeps" Johnson. Luostari is an Auburn commit, while Robillard and Johnson were both starters on the 2023 state tournament team.