Golden Rams hit next fastpitch season on Cambridge campus

Anoka-Ramsey fast pitch softball looks to build off a record-setting 2011 with even loftier goals this spring.

The Golden Rams won a program-record 28 games last season and came within one game of nationals, losing to Southern Division champion Ridgewater Community College. Anoka-Ramsey finished second at the combined Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) and  NJCAA Division III Region XIII tournament, which takes the top four teams from each division, southern and northern for the tournament.

Ridgewater represented the MCAC at nationals and is ranked No. 6 in the national poll as they return both stand-out pitchers Andrea Krause and Shannon Heitz.

Anoka-Ramsey improved greatly over its 2010 performance in which they won four times all season in the program’s first year back after missing 17 seasons. Last year they finished with a 16-8 record in the Southern Division of the MCAC. This is coach Dave Alto’s third season at Anoka-Ramsey, and he comes in with a 32-65 career record. He coached at Buffalo and Spring Lake Park over the last 20 seasons.

Anoka-Ramsey returns versatile sophomore Alex Conley, an Anoka graduate. She hit .364 and scored 40 runs last spring and is the only returner from 2011. The versatile player becomes the new pitcher for the ARCC. New faces taking the field for the Golden Rams this spring including Hibbing CC transfer pitcher Khloe Greniger,  freshman catcher/infielder Caitlin Sipe of Rockford, infielders Becca Haas from Princeton and Rachel Rivera from Ogilvie, and utility player Ellie Heid, a Totino-Grace grad.

Home games lined up

Anoka-Ramsey is off to a 4-13 after Conley and Greniger split the majority of the innings this spring as the Golden Rams traveled to the Tuscon, Arizona-area for its spring trip. Conley said this spring’s team focuses more on generating runs with its short game instead of power hitting.

“We’re better at the short-game with bunting and speed. Last year’s players were already at their greatest potential. This year we have more young players who have a lot of potential, too,” she said.

Katie Massoglla leads the Rams bats with a .481 batting average (13-27) with two doubles in 10 games. Conley is hitting .356 with two doubles, one triple, drove in six runs and scored a team-high 10 runs in 13 games. Sipe leads the team in RBI with 12 and doubles (three) and is hitting .324 in 12 games.

The Golden Rams opened the home schedule at its one-year old field on the Cambridge campus with a 5-4 & 3-4 split against St. Cloud April 3. They next split with MSCTC-Fergus Falls 2-10 & 6-2 on Saturday.  The Rams’ next home game will be Saturday, April 14 (12 p.m.) against Ridgewater.

Jason Olson  Anoka County Union Sports