April 09, 2014 - While the Lady Cats might be young out on field, new Varsity Softball Coach Jessica Granger believes "by the end of the season there will be a huge amount of growth and learning take place."
Back row (from left): Lindsay Williams, Alicia Aguilar, Skye Donaldson-Captain, Jessica Ubbing, Diamond Zeiger and Ashley Szymanski. Middle row (from left): Jordan Romine, Christina Chizmadia, Cherilyn Banas-Captain, Jordyn Zyngier, Madison Dinges and Makayla Marshall. Front row (from left): Taylor Jenkins and Logan Medel. Not pictured: Claire Hermanson (click for larger version)
"The sky is the limit with this team," Granger said. "As long as we practice hard and come to play everyday our potential is endless."
Due to the cold start of the spring season and games already cancelled, Granger said they were looking forward to just being able to practice and play outside.
The leadership of the team will come from the three returning starters from last year's squad, which include juniors Sky Donaldson, Cherilyn Banas and Jordan Romaine.
Donaldson will take short-stop as one of the captains.
"She is an outstanding leader, with an amazing arm," Granger said. "We expect great things from her both offensively and defensively."
As Co-Captain, Banas will cover second base.
"She is (another) outstanding leader. She will be a threat on the bases with her speed," Granger added. (Like Donaldson) we expect great things from her both offensively and defensively."
With Donaldson and Banas defending behind her, Romaine will take her spot on the mound. "She will be one of our main pitchers on the mound this year," Granger said. "She will log a lot of innings and I believe she will have a great year."
New to the team is freshman Madison Dinges. "She is a young player that gets a great read on the ball in the infield. She also has great speed and will be a threat on the base path," noted Granger. "I look forward to seeing what Madison brings to our team. I see great things in her next four years at OHS."
Granger said the strength of the team is their talent.
"I believe (that talent) will develop with each practice and game," she said. "I look forward to seeing our team compete. We are striving to improve as a team everyday."
Granger said the league looks strong.
"The OAA is always a strong league with great players," she said.
The goal of the season is simply improving in the day-to-day practice and games.
"We would love to win a league title and advance in the state championships," Granger added.
As for her coaching experience Granger, a native of Troy, has most recently served as the head coach of the West Bloomfield High School varsity softball team since November of 2011. She also served as graduate assistant at Oakland University during the 2009-10 academic year, coaching pitchers for the Golden Grizzlies.
Granger attended Wright State University as the Warriors' top pitcher before transferring to Oakland where she completed one of the greatest careers in school history. Granger is the Golden Grizzlies' all-time leader in pitching wins (48), games started (95), complete games (75), shutouts (14), innings pitched (626.2) and strikeouts (510) in just three seasons. She ended her career as a two-time team captain and a two-time All-Summit League selection. Granger was also a star in the classroom being named to the Summit League Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence and earning All-Summit League and All-American academic honors before earning a bachelor of science in elementary education in 2009.
After serving as a student teacher at Wass Elementary in Troy as well as at Sunnyvale Primary School in Aukland, New Zealand, Granger worked as a long term substitute at Leonard Elementary and is currently finishing her final student teaching assignment at Avondale Middle School.
"We are very fortunate to have Jessica lead our softball program," stated Athletic Director Mike Watson.
"She is not only an accomplished athlete, but a fine young coach and respected young educator."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.