Kallista Hribar hit 17 home runs last year and earned all-SLN player of the year. (Rick Benavides/SLN)



By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

After struggling through some growing pains last season, the Union Grove softball team looks to improve under second-year coach Tom Odell.

Last season, the Broncos struggled at points in the season, falling to a 10-14 record and tying for fourth place with a 6-8 record in the Southern Lakes Conference last season.

Improvement won’t be easy with slugger Kalista Hribar graduating last June.

Hribar was the SLC player of the year and the Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Softball player of the year in 2017.

Three-year starter and senior shortstop Emily Knight, along with centerfielder Taylor Clark, return to lead the squad. Other returners include junior first baseman Abby Boyle, junior pitcher Kayli Pfeffer, and junior infielder Brittney Moczynski.

Sophomores Megan Baker and Bailey Berger also return.

The Broncos will feature two primary pitchers in Pfeffer and freshman Angela Slattery.

Union Grove will be battle-tested by postseason play after taking on the always deep and talented Southern Lakes Conference.

Westosha Central and Wilmot appear to be tough again with Burlington and Elkhorn also in the mix.

The Broncos will rely on team speed and defense to lead the way. If the pitching and hitting can develop, the Grove should improve upon its record from last season.