Source: Sherman Publications

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Softballers start preseason in Ohio

April 04, 2012

Second baseman Brianna Schwarcz warms up her arm during a skirmish on March 28. Photo by G. Ouzounian
By Olivia Shumaker

Review Intern

With bats and gloves in tow, the Lady Dragons softball team is preparing to begin their season.

On the weekend of March 24, the team travelled to Cincinnati, where they went 3-1 in their four games, three of which were against top ten Michigan teams, and on Wednesday, March 28, the team hosted a scrimmage against Waterford-Kettering.

"We have a pretty talented team," said head coach Joe Woityra.

Talented or no, the team is larger than usual: 18 girls compared to the usual maximum of 14 or 15. The mix this year is healthy—three freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors and seven seniors, including a few four-year starters. Woityra said that cuts were difficult this year and in the end they chose the 18 girls who they felt were good enough to contribute to their goals. He hopes the team can be in the running for OAA Red League Championship in Battle Creek.

"Our hitting should be our strength," Woityra said, in addition to defensive playing and senior leadership. The team also has a number of finesse pitchers—that is, girls who might not throw hard but who can hit their mark from a variety of different pitches.

Still, the team did not play quite as sharp in Cincinnati as they had practiced beforehand, a shortcoming they will be working to overcome before the season officially begins.

The team has certainly worked for it. Girls typically play twelve months out of the year, either in training or in playing with different teams. Many of them play summer and fall softball before the spring season starts, and many take private lessons in hitting and batting. Conditioning begins right after winter break, which includes speed work, agility, and strength training. Closer to the season, once the team has been selected, the girls start fine-tuning.

"You can practice, practice, practice for game situations," Woityra said. "You've got to be good, you've got to work hard, and we're doing both of those, so hopefully we'll be a little lucky."

Head out to support the Lady Dragons in their first crossover game against Rochester on their home field on April 8, to start the season out with a bang.

"I think that we're going to have a really successful season," said catcher/outfielder Kaitlin Brown. "We have a really good team this year and we all work really well together."