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It was the state championship game for the Forest Lake U-14 traveling girls’ softball team. It was the final inning, and Dana Mogren was about to hit. Then the coach called for a pinch hitter to replace her in the lineup.
That didn’t sit too well with Mogren.
“I got so upset,” she said. “It was the only time that I’ve cried on the field. Ever since then I’ve had this drive to get better, because I never wanted to be put in that position again. I didn’t want to feel like no one could rely on me.”
So she put in the work. Gradually, her mechanics, bat speed, strength, vision and overall hitting ability became elite level. Mogren capped an impressive Forest Lake High School career by helping lead the Rangers to a third-place finish at this year’s Class 3A state tournament.
Last year as a junior, the shortstop was named first-team All-State, along with garnering multiple all-conference and all-section honors. This year she was nominated for the Gatorade Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Ms. Softball Award, given to the state’s top senior player.
Mogren, a four-year varsity player, will suit up for Minnesota State University, Mankato next season, an NCAA Division II program in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
“She has been a player who could be counted on from the beginning,” Rangers coach Angie Ryan said. “She lives and breathes softball, constantly improving her skills in and out of the season. I admire Dana greatly for her work ethic, leadership abilities and competitiveness.”
That competitiveness has elevated Mogren’s game and pushed her to put in the extra work to become an exceptional all-around player. She is not only a slugger, but her defense is reliable at a premium position. Her demeanor and work ethic have complemented her natural ability as she has gotten older.
“When I see other people doing things that I wish I could do, I really push myself because I want to be able to show people I can do anything,” said Mogren, who also ran cross-country the past five years. “I think my competitive edge is what gets me to be fundamentally sound.”
At first, Mankato seemed like an unlikely destination for Mogren. Before she visited the campus, Mogren never pictured herself playing there. But she fell in love with it once she arrived. She hopes it will be a good place for her to pursue her elementary education degree. She was impressed with the Mavericks coaches, and the program has been successful.
“The more that I learned about them, the more I wanted to go there,” said Mogren, who also considered other local and regional schools.
Mogren, who is playing summer ball for the Minnesota Renegades, likely will play either shortstop or second base at MSU Mankato. She also is trying some outfield positions this summer, which would make her more versatile for her college team.
First, she has to earn playing time. She’s determined to do so.
“I’m just going to go for it,” Morgen said. “I’m going to be as competitive as I can just to get a spot.”