Prep softball preview: Esko primed for another deep playoff run

Led by Class AA Second-Team All-State selection Avery Kuklinski, the Eskomos hope to build off their impressive 17-6 record from a season ago.

Base runner slides safely into third
Esko's Raegan Olson looks to tag out the Eveleth-Gilbert base runner on a successful steal attempt during a Section 7AA quarterfinals game, Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Braun Park.
Jake Przytarski / 2022 File / Cloquet Pine Journal

Head coach: Jeff Emanuel

Assistant coaches: Stacie (Miller) Starner, Jess Bren, Allison (Ohms) Kloss and Tony DeLeon.

Returning starters: Avery Kuklinski, senior, outfielder; Raegan Olson, senior, third base; Bailey Plante, junior, shortstop; Kaelyn Foxx, junior, first base, pitcher; Alayna Peterson, senior, utility player; Lizzie Hartlieb, senior, utility player; Rilee Durovec, sophomore, utility player.

    New Faces: Hannah Swanson, junior; Clara Swanson, freshman; Brynn Christensen, freshman; Kiera Leach, eighth grade.

    Outfielder leaps to make a catch
    Esko's Avery Kuklinski leaps to make a catch during a Section 7AA quarterfinals game against Eveleth-Gilbert, Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Braun Park.
    Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

    Team Strengths: "Our depth and the ability for players to play multiple positions," Esko head coach Jeff Emanuel said.


    Biggest Challenge: "Finding the pieces to put in place for the most successful results," Emanuel said.

    Goals and expectations: "As it is every season, compete with the top teams in the section. (We want to) grow as a team every practice, every inning and every game," Emanuel said. "Pitching: throwing strikes, making the defense make plays. (We want to) continue to raise the level of hard hit balls per at bat (and) put pressure on every opposing pitcher and defense."

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