Can the Lady Demons run it back for a second consecutive state trip?
By Mike Ramczyk
It was a bizarre year that started later and ended nearly in June.
The state tournament couldn’t be played at Goodman Diamond in Madison, the home of the Badgers, because of COVID-19 restrictions.
And the Burlington Demons varsity softball squad featured mostly underclassmen and a head coach that had never really won big in only her second full season of on-field competition.
Sure, 2021 stacked the deck against the Lady Demons like no other, especially coming off a canceled season in 2020.
However, Burlington surpassed each and every obstacle and defied expectations en route to its second state softball tournament appearance in four years.
The surprise Lady Demons took second in the ultra-competitive Southern Lakes Conference and enjoyed a run all the way to Green Bay, where they won a state tournament game June 28 before bowing out in the Division 1 state semifinal.
It was a banner year for Valerie Auseth, who returns for her fourth season as head coach.
Auseth also plays an integral role for the Burlington Blast, the Demons’ feeder program, where she coaches her youngest child, Kinsley.
Kinsley’s older sister Kenna Kornely, a second team All-Southern Lakes selection in 2020, joins a strong core of returning letter-winners, including first team all-state pitcher Morgan Klein and all-conference and all-county picks Kendra and Meagan Baumeister, Molly Berezowitz and Brianna Morris.
The battery of Klein and Meagan Baumeister, along with Kendra Baumeister, are senior leaders this season.
In total, 11 letter-winners are back for a team that finished 22-5 and 12-2 in the SLC.
Auseth says this squad boasts even more depth and experience this year, and expectations will be high.
She strongly believes the Lady Demons will be back in the running for the SLC championship, and they not only want to get to state in Madison in June, but win the whole darn thing.
“With the number of returning letter-winners, we are expecting to compete again this year for the conference title,” Auseth said. “Our non-conference schedule is extremely tough this year. The plan is to prepare us to be competitive and have a deep run in the playoffs.”
To read the full story see the April 7 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.