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Girls' Softball working hard to preempt last year's injuries

Jen Worsney connects during a scrimmage, sending the ball into left field. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
March 23, 2011 - Sporting injuries are common, yet can be severe enough to influence an entire season.

Joe Woityra, head coach of Lake Orion's Softball team said last year's season was plagued by injuries, but this year, steps are being taken to prevent a repeat.

"We did relatively well considering at any given time we had four girls hurts, and managed to beat some state ranked teams and stay competitive for the year," said Woityra whose team went 23-11 in 2010. "Staying healthy is our biggest thing this season, and we worked hard through the winter to stay in shape.

"A lot of the girls have been lifting, working on their speed and agility, and just trying to get rid of little things that cause those nagging injuries that happen when you don't expect it."

More than physical health, Woityra added the team is working on maintaining a healthy psychological attitude as softball can be as stressful mentally as it is physically.

"The mental aspect of the game can really wear on a player and that affects their game, so we're trying to offer as much encouragement as we can to maintain a positive atmosphere," said Woityra.

The head coach said with these problems out of the way, he expects the team to do just as well if not better than the previous year.

Returning players this year include seniors Paige Hamay, Emily Pillivant, Julia Basso, and Sandra Rippon, who signed a letter of intent in February to attend Trine University in Angola, Ind. Other returners include juniors Brianna Schwarcz, Danielle Guldi, Kaitlin Kogut, Katlyn Clouse, Jessica Lucas, Taylor Dillon, Corinne Listenbee, and sophomores Julie Malear and Alicia Gronowski.

Newcomers at the time of this articles publication include junior Sierra Woods, a six-foot-tall first-baseman who brings a powerful swing to homeplate, sophomore Haley Gilbertson, an exceptional outfielder, and freshman Jennifer Warznie, a speedy runner who is also competing for a spot in the outfield.

The new talent and older experience will come in handy, as Woityra said their league is one of the toughest in the state.

"The front runners in our league will probably be Farmington, Clarkston, and a few others," said Woityra. "Troy made it to semi-finals last year, and we were on par with them, and while we lost to Clarkston last year, they had a senior-laden team, and a lot of them have graduated.

"Right now we're just concentrating on getting the team working together, but it's all coming together."

Woityra has been coaching the softball team for 10 years, with two years as its head coach.

The first game for the Lady Dragons will be on March 30 at home against Davison.

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