If the Wauseon softball team can become more well-rounded, they should be much improved with a roster made up of four seniors and eight returning letter winners.
“This group of girls has the potential to do some really great things this season,” said head coach Shelly Borton. “Offensively, we must produce more runs early in games so we are not playing from behind from the the start. With that, we also need to start with solid defense in order to give our offense some confidence.
“We also have a very solid nucleus of girls returning who are more than capable of filling those positions.”
The coach is most confident with her team’s defense.
“With seven starters returning they have had a lot of exposure to varsity ball,” she said. “This group of girls has put a lot of time into softball in the offseason and are coming in well-prepared and ready to go this season. The enthusiasm and work ethic they bring to practice each day has been at a high level, and this will directly impact their success.”
However, there are some unknowns with this Indians’ team: They are replacing a pair of outfielders who graduated, and some players will have to adjust to new positions.
“Another area in which we are continuously working on is putting seven complete innings together,” stated Borton. “We have to be mentally tough and ready for any situation which comes our way. This is something we have struggled with but I am seeing great improvement from the girls so far this preseason and really looking forward to getting outside and into game situations.”
Returning for the Indians is Oliviah Banister who was second team All-NWOAL, and Ally Tefft, who was honorable mention All-NWOAL. Banister had a .475 batting average, four home runs, and 30 runs batted in last season, while Tefft hit .376 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
Other returning letter winners include Brianna Coblentz, Hayley Chamberlain, Erin Douglass, Katie Couts, Madelyn Martinez, and Reagan Spadafore. Newcomers are Brianna Andrews, Taylor Benschoter, Ana Lozano, and Alisa Shelt.
The Indians will be looking to improve on a 2015 campaign in which they finished 11-15 overall and 3-5 in the NWOAL. They will do so without Ashley Smith (second team All-NWOAL), Jordan Sloan (honorable mention All-NWOAL, second team all-district), and Chantel Rapp, who have all graduated and moved on.
“The league race will be tight,” said Borton. “I think Archbold and Bryan will be the favorites but there are many teams who will compete and surprise people.”
Although the league will be tough, Borton is anxious for the season to see how her squad stacks up against the competition.
“I am very excited about starting my third season here in Wauseon. The girls have put in a ton of time this past offseason to prepare for the upcoming season. They are working hard and excited to get outside and start playing,” she said.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010