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Five sophomores to watch in 2020

By Tim How, 03/18/20, 11:45AM CDT


These up and coming players could be key deciders in 2020 region and state title races.

Here is a look at five sophomore student-athletes that we are keeping our eyes on in 2020. We picked one from each region and then one wild card to add to the mix.

Logan Gronberg | Bismarck High

Logan Gronberg had a freshman season to remember. She led the Bismarck Demons all the way to the state title game after blasting a walk-off home run in the state semi-final win over Valley City. That was just one of many big moments for Gronberg, who tossed a 1-hitter against Fargo North in a most impressive pitching outing during the regular season.

The batting average was eye-popping  at .670 and the home run total of 15 with the RBI total of 67 is staggering. All that in just 29 games. And all of that as a freshman in high school. 

Dominant in the circle and dominate at the plate as a freshman makes her scary as a sophomore in 2020.

Sophie Ochocki | West Fargo

The West Fargo Packers always seem to reload. That's probably an understatement considering they have won 21 of 22 state titles in the sport of softball. There is always a new name. There is always a new star.

In 2020, keep an eye on Sophie Ochocki. She's likely to be the regular short stop for the Packers and her defense alone can make a difference. She is fluid with her feat and features a strong arm. 

She picked up plenty of experience as a freshman and had the trust of her coaches. She delivered the game-winning hit in the sixth inning in the state title contest against Bismarck in 2019.

Kya Mauch | Hankinson Co-op

It seems like Mike Loll always has good, young talent on his Pirates softball roster. Not only does Kya Mauch fit that mold, she is a straight up athlete who also stars in basketball and volleyball.

Mauch not only brings talent and consistency to the short stop position, she also brings experience. Last year in a region playoff game against Kindred-Richland, who ultimately went to the state title game, Mauch went 3-for-4 with 3 singles and 2 runs scores. The Pirates held close, but lost 9-6.

Taylar Fagerberg | Heart River

The Heart River softball program has steadily improved the past few seasons and now they are in prime "state contender" role entering 2020. Most people know about standout senior hurler Abby Kessel, but Taylar Fagerberg is a huge part of the team's success as well. 

Fagerberg was named to the 2019 all-west regional team following the season. She has a big frame, standing 6-feet tall and another year of maturity could make her a force in 2020.

Taya Hopfauf | Dickinson

Where do you start with Dickinson standout Taya Hopfauf?  Probably at the 2019 state tournament in Minot where she hit a home run after cutting her head open on a defensive play. She also hit for the cycle in a game as a freshman and threw a no hitter.

Hopfauf is a strong catcher who was left with big shoes to fill after Dickinson lost Jordie McNeilly to graduation two seasons ago. Hopfauf controls the game as a catcher and is impactful with the bat. It's easy to see why she was one of just two freshman to make the Class A all-state roster last season. The other was Gronberg.

Dickinson lost some key pieces to graduation in 2019, so Hopfauf and her teammates will be asked to carry more of the load in 2020.