Pioneers Aim for League Title, Trip to State

After ending the season in the WIAA Division 5 regional title game with an overall record of 16-7, Sevastopol’s softball team has goals to do better than that this spring.

Brooke Bittorf enters her sixth season as the Pioneers’ head coach with her list of top returning players including three who made the all-conference first team – junior infielder Naomi Rikkola, senior outfielder Jolene Luedtke and senior utility player Libby Ash, who saw time in the pitching circle last season. 

Also returning are senior Alaina Schopf, junior Kayla Ranly, who made the Packerland Conference’s second team as a catcher, along with junior Addison Schauske, who shared pitching duties last season with Ash.

Sevastopol graduated three players who received all-conference recognition last season – infielder Bailey Rikkola and outfielder Johanna Andreae on the second team and honorable-mention infielder Claire Haberli.

Bittorf said this year’s team includes a large incoming freshman class with a lot of experience as the team deals with injuries to returning starters, such as Ash having sustained a leg injury that ended her playing time before the postseason on the Pioneers’ girls basketball team.

Sevastopol’s softball players tied with Southern Door and Algoma for second last season behind undefeated conference champion Peshtigo, and this year Bitthorf said the goal is to finish first in the Packerland.

The Pioneers two years ago advanced to the Division 5 sectional title game, and this season she said they have their sights set on making it to state.

Bittorf said she’s currently most concerned about injuries and is looking forward to “reaching peak performance near postseason and seeing how we play against top teams in the state.”

She said the top non-conference opponents on Sevastopol’s schedule this season include Wisconsin Rapids Assumption, Coleman, Mishicot and Laona/Wabeno.

The Pioneers are scheduled to open the season with non-conference road games April 5 against Coleman and April 8 against Assumption before a Packerland doubleheader April 9 at Gibraltar.

Sevastopol’s Addison Schauske (21) is shown heading for home as she celebrates hitting a solo home run during the first inning of last year’s WIAA Division 5 regional softball semifinal against NEW Lutheran. File photo by Kevin Boneske.