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State champs: Four captains lead softball team to victory

Team members, managers and coaches pose with the state championship trophy. Pictured in the front row from left to right are Haylie Dowdall, Stef Wical, Teresa McCullen, Treya Connell, Brittani Robinson and Jessica Wassink. In the middle row are Kaitlin Stark, Kelsey Nelson, Lori Bauer, Jordan Marshall, Jordan Engel and Shelby Wassink. In the back row are Dean Robinson, Heather Maier, Michaela Mills, Alex Mohrhauser, Courtney VanDeVelde, Hailey Lundquist, Kaylynn Johnson, Mikayla Minnaert, Rachel Thomas,...1 / 2
Treya Connell and Brittani Robinson were all smiles after winning the state title. They were four-year captains on the team.2 / 2

Leading the girls varsity softball team to victory were four captains: seniors Treya Connell and Brittani Robinson and juniors Kaitlin Stark and Lori Bauer.

All the captains agreed that the root of the team's success this year had to do with how well the team got along from the beginning.

"Our team was always more than a team; we're a family," Bauer said.

Bauer began her softball career in 12U traveling softball.

At the beginning of the season, the team developed a mission statement for themselves. They recited it whenever they needed to refocus the team and remind them what they are playing for.

"Being a captain was an easy job with these girls," said Stark. "It was awesome because the girls were awesome."

Stark has been playing softball for as long as she can remember. She started with in-house softball and eventually moved to traveling softball.

For Connell and Robinson, this year was their fourth year as captains of the varsity softball team. "Their teammates chose them to be captains, starting as freshmen," said coach Dean Robinson. "They have such great knowledge of the game and it's going to be tough to lose them both in the same year."

Connell and Robinson both played on the first Hastings traveling softball 10U team, with their fathers Dean Robinson and Arik Connell as coaches.

Dean Robinson recalled his first memory of Treya Connell. "We had the then-varsity pitchers come to practice and had all the 10U players try pitching," he said. "Treya walked up to me and said 'Coach I'm a shortstop, I don't want to pitch.' Well she tried a few and came back and said 'Coach, I want to pitch.'"

Both Connell and Robinson were awarded key chains by their team members, representing their reign as captains for four years. An award has been started in their honor called the "Bart and Treya ultimate captain award." Beginning next year, teammates will vote for who the best captain of the year was, with Connell and Robinson presenting the award.

In the fall, Connell will be attending University of St. Thomas, located in Minneapolis, and Robinson will be attending Minnesota State University-Mankato. Both plan on playing softball in college.

Bauer and Stark will be returning as senior captains next year, with Kelsey Nelson and Michaela Mills joining them. After revealing the captains for next year, Connell reminded the team to "stay humble and innocent. Always stick together, work hard and have fun."

Captains ended the season with two words from Connell: "State champs."