Softball: Paynesville Bulldogs will mix experience with new talent

Apr. 3—PAYNESVILLE — The Paynesville softball team is hoping to have the right mix of talent on the field in 2024.

On one hand, the Bulldogs bring back some experienced talent from last season's 10-11 squad.

There are four four-year starters back with juniors Kaydence Roeske, Kylie Pauls, Madison McNab and Adrianna Messer.

Paynesville also has a crop of additions in Rayna Spanier, Grace Roberg, Grace Miller and Addie Boogie who hope to push the Bulldogs to a different level.

"There will be a period of figuring out where everyone fits," said fifth-year head coach Zach Nelson, "but I feel that by the end of the season we will be a very good team."

Roeske is the Bulldogs' top returner. The shortstop was a first team West Central Tribune All-Area selection after hitting for a .430 average and .540 on-base percentage with 10 doubles, 30 runs and 21 RBIs. She also had 22 stolen bases while earning All-Central Minnesota Conference and All-Section 6AA nods.

She's far from the only bright spot in Paynesville's starting nine.

Pauls finished with a .310 average and 25 runs. McNab won six games at pitcher while also hitting for a .290 average and two home runs. Messer had a pair of pitching wins to go with a .310 average, 30 RBIs and a pair of homers.

They hope to lead the charge for a team that was 10-6 in the CMC.

"We return a lot of experience," Nelson said. "And with the addition of Rayna, Grace Roberg, Grace Miller and Addie, we are looking forward to an exciting season."

Spanier and Grace Roberg are first-year players coming over from track and field. Nelson hopes that speed will help on the basepaths and in the field.

Charlotte Vearrier, Katie Good and Kayla Topp also return after playing half of the team's games last season, Nelson said. Topp hit for a .300 average while Vearrier was at .240 and Good at .230.

The Bulldogs get the season underway on April 9 at Melrose. The CMC opener is April 11 at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. The home opener is April 12 against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.