By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
If experience counts for anything, the Goshen High School girls softball team should be in store for better times during the 2013 season that is slated to begin on Tuesday with a home date at Shanklin Park against South Bend Riley.
Eight letterwinners return from an 8-21 (5-9 in the NLC) squad as Cassi McCormack is back for her second season coaching the Redskins.
“The girls learned a lot last season,” the coach said. “The returnees have shown a lot of improvement plus we have some good newcomers.”
Senior returnees are outfielder Lacee Mulcahey, outfielder Emily Mullet, third baseman Kaylee Shepherd and first baseman-pitcher Morgan Vanover. Juniors are pitcher-third baseman Taylor Caouette, catcher-first baseman Jessica Destefano and utility player Alex Prater. Brooke Miller is a sophomore second baseman-catcher.
The lone loss to graduation was pitcher McKenzie Byler, who is now playing at Bethel College in Mishawaka along with former Redskin pitching sensation Natalie Newell.
Caouette is expected to do the bulk of the pitching this season with Vanover also slated to see some action.
“Caouette did a lot of work in the offseason with her dad and she also pitched for her travel team,” McCormack said. “She has looked good so far in practice. She understood her role coming into the season that she was going to be our pitcher.
“She hits her spots well. She doesn’t have as much movement on the ball, but mixes her speeds well. She is probably where Byler was at last year.”
Destefano returns behind the plate.
With Caouette moving into the pitcher’s circle McCormack will need to rearrange her infield.
“Caouette was our shortstop a year ago so we are having to shuffle the infield,” the coach said. “The same will be true when Vanover pitches.”
Heading into the season the infield has Vanover at first, Miller at second and Shepherd at third.
“Miller was very steady last season at second,” McCormack said.
The shortstop position still has to be decided. Among the candidates are Prater, junior Jessica Axalco and sophomore Ali Nemeth.
Mulcahey and Mullet are two of the outfielders with the third possibly coming from the shortstop candidates.
“All of the girls are pretty even when it comes to defense so a lot of our success could come down to how well we hit the ball,” McCormack said.
The coach expects the Redskins to hit for more power this season.
“We should hit more home runs,” McCormack said. “We have more players capable of taking the ball deep. Axalco and Nemeth both hit some home runs last year for the JV.
“Our hitters have different strengths so our lineup may depend upon what type of pitcher we are facing.”
Also on the varsity are junior outfielder Brittany Jones and sophomore shortstop Yadira Cabrales.
“Cabrales is a natural athlete who can help us,” McCormack said.
Randy Bender is back for his second year as the varsity assistant coach.
The JV roster is made up of junior outfielder Aurora Perez, sophomore outfielder Cynthia Price, sophomore second baseman-outfielder Jordan Stotts, sophomore pitcher-outfielder Morgan Walker, sophomore third baseman Payton Walter; freshman first baseman-outfielder Cassie Brown, freshman second baseman Emily Castillo, freshman first baseman-outfielder Elayne Davidson, freshman second baseman Jasmine Lenter, freshman catcher-third baseman Zaytiah Nolen and freshman pitcher-outfielder Lexi Vanover.
Matt Armbruster is back for his second season as JV coach while Sarah Noah begins her first season as JV assistant coach.
Seniors Fabiola Nemeth and Lindsay Gerger are varsity managers and sophomore Erica Ecker the JV manager.