By John Bombatch Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
April 4, 2014
As soon as the weather clears enough for teams to play, the area’s high school softball teams will be looking to improve upon their 2013 performances.
Last season, only three area schools — Fairborn, Carroll and Bellbrook — managed to win their opening sectional tournament games. The rest were eliminated from the post season after their first games.
First-year Xenia Buccaneers coach Ruth Caudill says she’s excited about changing the team’s attitude this season.
“We expect to change the overall image of Xenia softball be being very competitive, but offering great sportsmanship and positive attitudes both on and off the field,” Caudill said. “We expect to have one of the best records held by Xenia softball.”
According to the Greater Western Ohio Conference website, Xenia hasn’t won a conference game since a 1-run win over GWOC South foe Springboro on May 7, 2010. They’ve lost 30 straight conference games since then.
Led by senior Ashley Ashbaugh and juniors Ayla Shaw and Autumn Meyer, the Buccaneers hope this will be the season where they break that vaunted streak. Caudill says sophomores Morgan McClain, Makena Ferrell, Kait Wormsley, Allison Heinz and Aly Ray will all contribute to the Xenia cause this season.
The majority of Caudill’s lineup are girls she coached to GWOC Silver middle school tournament titles the past two years.
“Every game is crucial,” Caudill said. “We would love to upset every team that isn’t expecting us! Conference games will be a top priority with the outcome much more positive than years prior. We have a goal of 6-10 (wins) in the conference.
“Every David meets a Goliath!”
Senior catcher Colleen Hines, junior third baseman Carlie See and first-team all-Greater Western Ohio Conference second baseman/pitcher Megan Massie lead a Beavers team that hopes to improve upon last season’s 11-12 overall mark.
Beavercreek won its season opener, 13-12, over Miamisburg this season.
“I am excited for the future of this program,” said second-year coach Raquel Moran. “The team this season combines a good mix of returners with new players who are young and ready to make an impact. I believe and expect this team to be competitive in a very touch GWOC Central division.”
Despite seven new first-year varsity players on his roster, Patriots coach Mike Davis hopes to have yet another winning series at Carroll. The Pats were 15-8 overall a year ago, 10-4 in the Girls Greater Cincinnati League.
Sierra Gaunt (1B/3B), Morgan Nash (SS/3B), Seleena Moats (CF) and Taylor Waggoner (P/SS) are the team’s returners.
Davis says second baseman Shelby Joseph and first baseman/third baseman Valerie Gigaus, who is back after two years of season-ending injuries, will be the key to his team’s success.
“We have a young team with only four starters back, and we have a new pitcher and catcher,” he said. “We’ll have to play defense and do the basics to keep us in the ballgame. We will have to work for our runs. You’ll see lots of bunting and running from us.”
Coach Bob Shively hopes his Skyhawks can improve upon their 11-17, 3-7 GWOC South record of last season. Kati Knecht, Katie Walker, Stephanie Fillback, Bethany Melton and newcomer Taylor Rice all will have a key role on the varsity team.
When asked for a list of key games this season, Shively listed “all of our GWOC games” as crucial to the team’s success.
With five returning starters back from last season’s 9-13, 4-12 Central Buckeye Conference, Mad River Division team, first-year coach Rick Armstrong said his team’s goal is to win the Mad River Division crown this time around.
Taylor Maas (OF), Brooke Robinson (INF/C), Sam Chaffin (P), Sam Renner (INF), Karissa Keeton (OF) are back, and Armstrong says freshmen Lexi Romine and Arian McNeil will make solid contributions to the team as well.
While several games have already been rained out in the early part of this season, if things dry up in time, a pair of 5 p.m. games could be on tap this afternoon: Carroll travels to Cincinnati for a Greater Catholic League contest with Roger Bacon, and Fairborn will play host for a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game with Kettering Fairmont.