Evergreen softball will look to its returning letter winners to help them have a successful 2019 campaign.
“We feel we have the talent to compete with every team we face this season,” said second-year coach Andy Langenderfer. “The NWOAL provides tough competition, top to bottom, and we have an incredibly challenging non-league schedule as well. Our goal is to play to our full potential and to dominate the aspects of this game that we can control.”
Returning for the Vikings are Myra Kuszmaul (second team All-NWOAL, All-District), Andrea Smithmyer (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Kelsie Komisarek (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Zoe VanOstrand, Sara Myers and Courtney Couts.
Newcomers Breanna Huffman and Kennedy Keller will also help add depth.
“Our biggest strength is experience,” admitted Langenderfer. “Our athletes are not only talented but have faced off against top-level opposition and competed.”
Leading Evergreen in the batter’s box are Kuszmaul, who hit .448 in 2018 and Smithmyer, who hit .411. Komisarek finished with a .313 batting average, while VanOstrand hit .273.
In the circle for the Vikings, Couts returns after posting a 2.75 earned run average and 123 strikeouts in just over 94 innings pitched. She also hit .343.
However, the Vikings will have some holes to fill, losing a host of key contributors from last year’s squad.
Departed letter winners are Grace Bryson (second team All-NWOAL), Jamie VanLoocke (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Kaitlyn Rice, Hannah Herr, Hannah Pennington, Tori Fuller and Kenzie Siewart.
“We graduated seven seniors last season,” said the Viking coach. “While not all of these players were starters, all played a valuable role in our team’s success. Replacing the depth that those seniors gave us is our biggest challenge.”
Langenderfer wants his squad to view winning the league as a realistic goal, however, they will have to go above and beyond to do so.
“Ultimately, we are looking to improve upon our 4-3 league record from last season,” he said. “Our goal is always to win the NWOAL but we know that doing so is a difficult task; we can’t look past any team in the league. All of our league victories from last season came with a tough fight and our girls know that getting past the upper echelon teams in the league will require a dedication to excellence on our behalf. Being good will not be good enough to win the NWOAL.”
Evergreen is at Toledo’s Bowman Park for a doubleheader with Start to begin the season this Saturday at 11 a.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010