Few team sports depend on a single player as much as fastpitch softball. One dominant pitcher is generally all it takes to make a team competitive.
Chanhassen lost two pitchers to graduation from a 2014 team that posted 18 victories, the most in school history. The current roster has only one senior, third baseman Alyssa Manno, and is heavy on freshmen and sophomores.
Rebuilding year, right? Perhaps not.
The Storm scored 40 runs and collected 54 hits in victories over Cooper (12-2), Bloomington Kennedy (12-1) and Shakopee (16-6) to open the season. If early returns are accurate, it looks like Chanhassen might be able to slug its way to a successful season.
Sophomore second baseman Kali O’Keeffe led the charge with nine hits in her first 11 at-bats, with two home runs, nine RBI, seven runs scored and an .857 on-base percentage.
Sophomore catcher Jessica Bren was 9-for-13 with a home run, a pair of doubles and four RBI.
Still, how far Chanhassen goes will hinge on how rapidly the Storm develops its trio of young pitchers — sophomores Taylor Manno and Marybeth Olson and freshman Madison Schwartz.
But early returns are looking up for the Storm.
Sharing a no-no
Armstrong pitchers Jordan Kuznia and Jack Wibben are accustomed to sharing time on the mound in a single game, having done so on numerous occasions in 2014, the most notable being the Falcons’ 5-4 loss to Eden Prairie in the Class 3A tournament quarterfinals.
The senior lefthanders teamed up again Saturday with far better results. Kuznia and Wibben combined to throw a six-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 victory over Spring Lake Park. Kuznia started the game, pitched four innings and struck out 10 batters. Wibben pitched the final two innings and got five of the six outs by strikeout.
Armstrong senior outfielder Jack McDonough was 3-for-3 and scored two runs.
Minnetonka baseball followers have been patiently waiting to see what sophomore pitcher Jimmy Ramsey can do on the mound.
His first outing, a 12-2 victory over Coon Rapids, showed why. Ramsey, a hard-throwing 6-7 righthander, gave up only four hits and struck out five in his first start of the season.
Ramsey can hit, too. In an 11-4 victory over Waconia, he went 4-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI.