Softball preview: Carlton brings speed, power — but no returning starters

The Bulldogs' first game is April 8.

Carlton junior MaeLyn Pokornowski lays down a bunt during practice Monday, April 5, 2021. (Jamey Malcomb /

Head coach: Brent Pokornowski

Assistant coaches: Hannah Mitchell, Brynne Mickle, Abby Mickle

Returning starters: None.

New faces: Haley Ableiter, Madison Asleson, Eliza Decaigny, Eva Fisher, Elizabeth Hey, Lexie McFadden, Abby Mitchell, Carly Parker, MaeLyn Pokornowski, Kennedy Sitter

First game: April 8 at home vs. Moose Lake-Willow River


Team strengths: " Grit and determination — these young ladies are tough,” coach Brent Pokornowski said. “Coaches have pushed these ladies hard out of the gates and they have responded quite well— out-performing coaches’ expectations in effort and determination. They have speed, they have power, they throw the ball hard and they have softball IQ.”

Biggest challenge: "With no returning starters, the Carlton Bulldogs are going to be coming out of the gates with an entirely new team and new coaching staff," Pokoronowski said. "Some may say this will be a big challenge, but many of these ladies have been playing in off-season teams together and are fired up for this high school season. Assistant coach Hannah Mitchell, studying remotely for a year after playing softball at St. Olaf, provides a college-level degree of technical skill development for these young ladies. Recently graduated seniors Abby Mickle and Brynne Mickle are back after their senior season was canceled to give back to the Carlton softball program. Having these three assistant coaches working with these young ladies is a tremendous advantage for Carlton."

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