Outfielder Grace Trautman offered a glimpse of her Waterford softball career (Mike Ramczyk/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Southern Lakes Newspapers plans to recognize senior student-athletes who participated in spring sports.

The seniors from Waterford and Union Grove will be profiled in the next several weeks as more seniors respond to questions via email.

Southern Lakes Newspapers reached out to readers on social media, contacted athletic directors and student-athletes themselves for suggestions on who to profile.

Coaches, senior student-athletes, parents and athletic directors are welcome to send further recommendations to jarndt@southernlakesnewspapers.com

Southern Lakes Newspapers asked seniors about their favorite memories, what they loved about their teams, notable achievements and future plans.

Here are responses from some members of the Waterford softball team:

Grace Trautman
Grace Trautman earned selection to Southern Lakes Conference teams in back-to-back seasons leading up to her senior softball campaign at Waterford.

Trautman, a left fielder, earned honorable mention as a sophomore and rose to first team status last season.

Trautman took pride in playing for the Wolverines and felt devastated to learn she would not have a senior season.

“Waterford softball may never have been the most winningest team, but they were always my family and losing the seniors every year were the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to say,” she said. “I’m devastated I don’t get that same moment with my underclassmen this year who I know will do bigger things for the program than I ever could imagine.”

Trautman, meanwhile, said her teammates and coaches believed in her, even when she was most critical of herself.

“The players and coaches believed in me especially when I was being too hard on myself,” she said.

Looking back, she carries specific memories, including traveling with the team and a game against state runner-up Burlington as a sophomore.

“The bus rides…they were always energetic and unpredictable,” she said.

Meanwhile, against Burlington, she belted a home run off of eventual Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year Josie Klein as a sophomore.

Trautman, who has played softball for 12 total years, looks to continue her career at St. Michael’s College in Vermont and study health sciences.

Mackenzie Stiewe

Mackenzie Stiewe

Mackenzie Stiewe felt like she was part of a family while playing for the Waterford softball team.

“I loved how close my team and I got during the season because we spend so much time together, it really feels like we are all a family,” she said.

The canceled season, Stiewe said, is both heartbreaking and bizarre because of the strong bonds she formed with teammates.

“I am going to miss all my teammates and my coaches so much,” she said. “It is going to be weird not being able to play with them one last time.”

Stiewe, however, hopes to have one last chance with her teammates during the 30-day summer contact window instituted by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“It’s been extremely heartbreaking for me and some of my teammates knowing that we will never play with a Waterford jersey on again, but we are all trying to keep our heads up hoping our summer season does not get canceled as well.”

Stiewe, primarily a corner infielder, reflected on her seasons with Waterford.

She recalls many clutch performances against top Southern Lakes Conference teams.

“My biggest individual highlight was either when I hit a game-tying RBI double to put us and Wilmot into extra innings and then later upsetting Wilmot my sophomore year,” she said. “Or my junior year when I hit a walk off against Badger.”

Stiewe isn’t finished playing, however, as she plans to attend Spoon River College in Canton, Illinois on a softball scholarship. She is undecided on a major.