Pettisville softball looks to return to playing above .500 ball as they lose only one letter winner off last year’s team, which went 8-12 overall and 5-5 in the Buckeye Border Conference.
“I expect us to progressively improve each day and compete in every game,” said coach Kendra Stahl, who boasts an 80-48 overall coaching record. “We want to be a solid team to contend with, and we need to fight and compete each and every game all season long, from beginning to end.”
The Blackbirds return three all-conference performers: Amber Klopfenstein, who was first team All-BBC and second team all-district, and Jaelyn Rufenacht and Jasmyn Barton, who were both second team All-BBC.
Klopfenstein held a .437 batting average and knocked in seven RBIs in 2015. Rufenacht sported a .338 batting average with 10 RBIs, while Barton hit .396 with 14 RBIs.
Also back for the Birds are Marissa Beck, Mallory Riegsecker, Kaija Blosser, Kyra Behnfeldt, Sami Tilley, Sydney Purtee, and Andrea Flory.
Behnfeldt posted a 2-4 record in the circle with a 3.9 ERA and 33 strikeouts.
The only person the Blackbirds will have to replace is centerfielder Johanna Roth, who graduated.
“We have five seniors on the team this season that possess great leadership qualities and have plenty of playing experience,” said Stahl. “Pitching and catching will be another strength for our season. I expect our hitting to be competitive and progress throughout the season.”
But, the coach does highlight some areas of concern heading into the new season.
“We will probably be weak in defense, as there will be players in new positions this season,” she said. “The inexperience will be difficult at first but I expect our players to rise to the challenge and get better with the more repetitions and experience as the season progresses. We also lack depth in some positions, so again, the inexperience may be a factor.”
She sees the conference as a wide open race.
“The BBC will continue to be a competitive conference. Any team can rise to the top and I expect us to be competitive,” said Stahl.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010