Although several key pieces are gone from last season, Archbold will look to continue its run atop the Northwest Ohio Athletic League softball standings under new head coach Andrea Thiel. The Streaks have won outright or shared the league title every year since 2006.
Three all-league performers are among those that will need to be replaced. Gone are Cassi Wyse, who was first team all-league and all-district and second team all-state; Payton Robinson, first team all-league and all-district and honorable mention all-state; and Shelby Cline, second team all-league.
Also gone are Madison Kohler, Neila Kinsman and Brooke Hines.
However, Archbold softball usually reloads instead of rebuilds. Four letter winners return who hit at least .333 last season.
Leading the way is sophomore outfielder Gabby Nafziger, who hit .406 last year and was first team all-district and second team All-NWOAL. Peyton Dickman (C/3B) is back after hitting .361 and being named second team all-district and honorable mention all-league.
Alyssa Ziegler (P/OF) returns after hitting .364 and compiling a 3-3 record with a 3.50 ERA. McKenna Towns (P/OF) is also back after hitting .333 last season.
Promising newcomers, according to the coach, include Leslie Simon (IF), Kaitlyn Beck (1B/OF), Alexa Wilson (IF), Faith Wyse (IF/OF), Lacie Henry (2B/OF), Madison Roth (SS), Chloe Schramm (P/C/2B), and Jadyn Fenstermaker (Utility).
With so many newcomers, Thiel said that youth and inexperience could be a weakness for the Streaks this season. Strengths include having an experienced senior pitcher and catcher, good attitude, team chemistry and having a hard-working team.
“Our goal is to be playing our best softball of the year as we approach tournament time,” said Thiel. Last year, the Streaks advanced to the regional final where they fell to Milan Edison.
“It is going to take some time for us to adapt to the new roles that several of our newcomers are being asked to fill,” she said. “We hope to defend our NWOAL title and make a nice tournament run. It will take a group of young ladies that can maintain a strong focus, and who are committed and determined to work together for that to happen.”
Thiel said there will be great competition in the NWOAL this season.
“Several league teams return key players that will make each and every league opponent we face a tough test,” she said. “I believe that there could be several teams fighting for the right to call themselves NWOAL champs at the end of the season, with Bryan and Wauseon being at the top of that list.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010