Here are six Division 5 Team Previews. They are written with information the coach submitted on a form they received entitled Welcome To More Wisconsin High School Softball Publicity
This is the start of that
Division 5 – Enrollment is 146 this year- Northeast Sectional
Head Coach – Sue Stoltenberg – 21st Year – (276—141 with 9 conference titles, 14 regional titles and two sectional titles leading to a pair of State Final Four appearances.
Member of the M&O Conference (Marinette and Oconto)
In 2017 Wausaukee was dancing on the infield at the state tournament during a rainout. In 2018 they were bumped off the tournament trail by Wisconsin Rapids Assumption in the sectional. The upcoming season will see head coach Sue Stoltenberg and her staff of Mandy Allman, Robin Hirte, Kelly Stumbris and Ryan Smith retooling a bit in a run for Goodman Diamond and not the one in Goodman, Wisconsin rather the one in Madison. Returning to fold in 2019 are al conference players Madelyn Schims (OF), Kaelyn Schims (OF), Callie Orlando (2B) and Kylee Smith (1B). When asked what she thinks about the upcoming season the coach told us, “We should be a solid hitting team and be tough defensively. We have a new starting pitcher this year, Allison Versaskas a junior who will be seeing more action that in the past." Sue sees Pembine/Goodman and Florence as a much improved teams to deal with but sees Coleman as the team to battle with for another title. With some good work in the circle from Versaska along with being solid in the field and at the plate the Rangers could be dancing in Madison again in June.
Division 5 –Enrollment is 133 this year (56 at Pepin & 77 at Alma) –Southwest Sectional
Head Coach – Matt Bellerive – 13th Year as Head Coach – 16th Year overall (191-84 with 6 Conference Titles – 4 Regionals
Member of Dunn/St.Croix Conference – Schools range in size from 77-345
Pepin/Alma is a coop team with a combined total enrollment of 133. The Eagles claimed the conference title in 2018. Head coach Matt Bellerive is one of the most passionate fastpitch softball fans you will ever meet. He took over for a legend when Hall of Fame coach Jim Haines stepped aside. At that time it was just Pepin and then Lakers continued to do more than just tread water under Bellerive’s tutelage. Reach out to other coaches as well as Haines he has kept the program strong. With the merger with Alma he has kept that transition smooth having to practice at two separate sites and play games on two home fields as well. The Eagles return four all conference players from that championship team. They are: Erin Seifert, Kylee Brunner, Alyssa Kosidowski and Emma Brecka. Those four will lead a good nucleus of younger players into battle in the upcoming season. Bellerive believes his club will hit the ball well top to bottom but they need to get their pitching staff to up their game a bit to stay in contention for a seventh title under his leadership. As for other contenders he sees Elk Mound, the largest school in the Dunn/St. Croix at 345 students as the top one along with Boyceville, Elmwood/Plum City, Glenwood City and Mondovi. In that half-sectional he sees two –time state tournament entry Blair-Taylor as the favorite followed by Elmwood/Plum City and Independence/Gilmanton. Of course he is looking for marked improvement in his players and if things fall well the Eagles could very well be screaming at the door to the top.
Division 5 – Enrollment is 167 this year - - Southeast Sectional
Head Coach Jeff Kohlbeck – 18th Year – 147-199 – 2 Conference Titles, 3 regional titles,
Member of the Trailways West Conference
The Rockets return all conference players JoLea Woreck (ss), Michaela Schick ©, Jora Hughes P/1B and Brianna Prieve (CF) to the fold in 2019. Coach Jeff Kohlbeck sees his team’s strengths as lots of experience as he return seven starters with five of those being seniors. Offensively he believes they will be strong and be good on defense although he says there is always room to hone those skills. We will have to work hard with the girls in the circle this spring and break in a couple of new outfielders. He sees Markesan and Cambria as the biggest obstacles for his team in the conference race but believes the Rockets and can win it. In the half sectional he views the favorites to be Oakfield and Catholic Central (Burlington). If things bounce well for the Rockets they very could be adding a trophy to the case in Randolph.
Division 5, Enrollment is 114 This year – Southwest Sectional
Head Coach is Dawn Ertel – Assistant is Nikki Justman
Member of the Scenic Bluffs Conference
Head Coach Dawn Ertel looks to improve the competitiveness of the Wonewoc-Center team this spring. She returns All Conference shortstop Vanessa Miller, a senior and will look for Miller to provide the leadership to a team looking to move up in the conference standings. Ertel was at one time the coach at Royal High School leading that team to the sectional final in 2005. The Scenic Bluffs had some tough competitors a year ago and 2019 will be no different. The conference champion was Necedah at 14-0 followed by Bangor at 11-3 and Cashton at 10-4. The half sectional is loaded with tough teams as Ertel takes a look at it. She sees the likes of Blair-Taylor, Elmwood/Plum City, Independence/Gilmanton and Pepin/Alma who are all on the Fastpitch Chronicle pre-season watch list. If she can get her pitching going and find a bit of offense she will see improvement.
Division 5 – Enrollment is 114 this year – Northwest Sectional
Head Coach is Brian Phelps – 26th Year; 348-202 – 11 Regional titles, 2 sectional titles and 2 Final Four Appearances
assistant coach is Breanna Piekarz in her third year
Member of the Cloverbelt East Conference
Head Coach Brian Phelps looks at his list of players and smiles. About to enter his 26th year at the helm of the Pirates Phelps welcomes back some excellent players as they chase a conference title. They will have to battle the likes of Spencer, Loyal, and Colby-Abbotsford in order to win that trophy but he believes the Pirates are capable. He will return All Conference standouts Grace Grunseth a first team catcher, Montana Birkenholz a first team second sacker and Jaiden Sedivy a second team shortstop in addition to those players look for lost of help from pitcher Katie Webster, centerfielder Lexi Chaplinski and first sacker Mykell Podalak. “We return eight starters of which are two are seniors so we have experience. We have good speed, can hit for power and average and we are blessed with two solid pitchers. When asked what he thinks the Pirates need to work hard at his answer was mental toughness, consistency, a short game and consistency. He sees defending Division 5 State Champion McDonell Central as the toughest opposition in the half sectional as well as Loyal but feels that on any day his club can beat anybody on their schedule.
Division 5 – Enrollment is 95 – Southeast Sectional
Head Coach Heidi Ganshert (8th year) – teams have claimed 2 regional titles
Assistants are Taurie Burns and Travis Erickson
Member of Six Rivers East Conference
Now in her 8th year at the helm in Argyle head coach Heidi Ganshert sees Black Hawk and Barneveld as the favorites this spring in the Six Rivers East Conference. Argyle returns all conference players Kirsten Ostby and Jadyn Saalsaa from last year’s team. When looking at the list of teams in the half sectional Argyle falls into she says that Belmont and Highland are the two that have the inside track. “Our strengths this year will be senior leadership in the field. We return almost our entire field. I look for fewer errors all around this season. We always look to be better batters and need leadership in the circle as well.”