Brei, Hoffman enjoy final high school softball experience

Local duo cap standout careers at WFSCA All-Star Game
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Contributed photo Gresham’s Mackenzie Hoffman swings during a WFSCA All-Star Game.

Bowler’s Maranda Brei and Gresham’s Mackenzie Hoffman were both four-year starters for their respective schools softball teams.

Hoffman made an all-conference team during each year of her high school career. In the Central Wisconsin Conference-10, she was named to the honorable mention team as a freshman, the second team as a sophomore and the first team as a junior. In the new CWC-North Division this year, Hoffman also made the first team.

This spring, Hoffman helped Gresham to a 7-3 conference record, good enough for second place. The Wildcats were a No. 4 seed in Division 5 for the playoffs.

Brei was an honorable mention selection in the CWC-10 as a sophomore and junior. Competing in the CWC-North as a senior, Brei made the first team.

This spring, Bowler earned two conference wins and rallied to a playoff win over Oneida Nation.

Earlier this year, each player was recognized for their strong high school careers with roster spots for the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association (WFSCA) All-Star Game. The duo teamed up on the Division 4-5 Blue roster on June 12, earning an 8-7 win over the Division 4-5 Red team before downing the Division 4-5 White team 8-3 at the Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells.

Other players on the Division 4-5 Blue team included Weyauwega-Fremont’s Kiley Akey and Cadyn Ehrenberg, Pacelli’s Paige Hintz and Cailin Firkus, Assumption’s Erin Sullivan and Ellie Schill, Shiocton’s Gabrielle Gunderson, Barneveld’s Jessica Walker, Boyceville’s Marissa Dormanen and Thorp’s Elektra Zurakowski. The team was coached by Assumption’s Charles Nelson.

Both Hoffman and Brei were thrilled to participate in the games, which marked the final time they would wear their high school uniforms.

“It was neat to wear my uniform and represent my school one last time,” Hoffman said. “It was a great way to end the amazing experience of high school softball. I felt so honored to be selected to the all-star roster because it was a goal of mine from the beginning. Part of me thought it wouldn’t be possible considering that I come from such a small school and there are so many amazing athletes in Wisconsin in Division 5. I was so shocked and happy when I found out I was selected.”

“It was an incredible experience to get to play the sport one last time,” Brei said. “I was incredibly honored, I was playing with girls who went to the state tournament. Seven of our 12 girls on our roster made an appearance at the state tournament. It was incredible to play with them, especially coming from such a small school.”

All players reported to the Dells on June 11 for a player’s meeting before going through practice. Players were then treated to a pizza party and were given water park passes. The players attended a banquet in the evening before heading to the Tommy Bartlett Show afterward

Over the short time the players were in Wisconsin Dells for the practices and games, many returned home having made new friends along with memories that will last forever.

“The coaching team was composed of such nice people,” Brei said. “And the other girls were absolutely wonderful. They were so fun to play with and get to know. The thing I will remember the most about the all-star experience would be all of the friendships I made while I was there and that I plan to keep for the rest of my life.”

“This experience made me realize how much I love the sport of softball,” Hoffman said. “I made friends with individuals who love the sport just as much as I do and I will never forget that. My teammates and I all became instant friends. We all experienced mixed emotions as we played our last high school game.”