Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 30, 2013

Lady Pirates return strong hitting arsenal

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — The Greensburg varsity softball team is reloading this season and looks forward to building on a 16-11 record.

Before losing three key players to graduation, the Lady Pirates turned in one of the best offensive seasons in the program’s history. Greensburg tallied 11 home runs, 14 triples, and 36 doubles, leading to the best slugging percentage in team history. The batting average was second best in GHS history.

“We are looking to improve our numbers in 2013,” said head coach Jake Shook. “We are returning our top six batting averages from 2012 and adding two really strong freshmen to it. The majority of these players made a decision back in junior high or elementary school to switch to playing some kind of travel fast pitch softball, and we are starting to see the benefits from it now. The players are excited to get the 2013 season started. Hopefully the weather breaks and we can get on the field before our first game on April 2.”

Greensburg loses four seniors - center fielder Kelly Scheidler, batting .296; second baseman Laykin Collins (.246), third baseman Britt Riley (.266) and outfielder Stephanie Hoeing.

The Pirates return four seniors, one junior and two sophomores. Senior Clare Owens returns at shortstop after leading the team in batting average (.442), slugging (.919) and extra bases (20 of her 38 hits were for extra bases). She was All-Conference and team MVP.

We expect a big season out of the 3-time All-EIAC player in 2013,” said Shook. Owens participated on the 2012 3A Junior team in the Indiana Elite North vs South All Star Softball Challenge, along with seniors Audrey Geis and Shelby Ward.

Geis returns at first base after finishing second in batting average. The All-EIAC player had a 38-game hitting streak with at least one hit, end that spanned from her sophomore into her junior year.

Warns returns at catcher and might see action at second base or outfield. Ward returned from a serious elbow injury, according to Shook,

and finished fourth on the team in batting average.

She didn’t have her best year in 2012, coming back from her injury,” said Shook, “but we’re expecting her to come back stronger than ever in 2013.

Junior Ali Phillips will be returning to the circle for Greensburg. Phillips has pitched in 44 games at the varsity level between her freshman and sophomore seasons.

“Ali has gained a lot of experience on the rubber the last two years,” said Shook. “Ali does a really nice job in the circle for us. She induces a lot of groundballs and allows our defense to work.”

Shook called sophomore Megan Schmidt a key player last year as freshman. Schmidt was in the batting order for every game and ended up batting in the three spot in the lineup by the end of the year. She finished third on the team in batting average. According to Shook, Schmidt didn’t play the field “as much as she would have liked last year” because Britt Riley was a four-year starter at third base.

“Megan should fill in the hole at third base for the Lady Pirates,” he added.

Sophomore Chelsea Hersley started in the outfield and batted in the lineup every game as a freshman. She finished sixth in batting.

Hersley tore ligaments in her knee just days after the 2012 season, leading to surgery and physical therapy over the summer, fall, and winter, before being released to play sports again in late February.

“She missed the volleyball and basketball seasons this year,” noted Shook, “but she has worked really hard to make it back for the 2013 softball season. I believe as a coach she is ready.”

Senior Channon Brown returns after not seeing many at-bats in 2012, but started every game in the outfield.

“Channon is a strong defensive player that is not scared to give up her body for an out,” said Shook.

Seven newcomers will join the team, including two seniors, one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.

Freshman Britney Biltz will fill the void in center that Scheidler left.

“Britney has really pushed the returning players to step up their game,” said Shook. “We see Britney doing big things in the next four years for the Lady Pirates program.”

Freshman Keauna Schultz, according to Shook, has a big bat and will see time on the field at catcher or first base this season.

Seniors Lillie Wolter and Kayanna Wolter both played junior varsity last year and led them to a good JV season with a 12-7 record.

Junior Katie Bennett will be called upon as a utility player

“She has good speed and is improving with her glove and arm strength,” said Shook.

Sophomores Emma Wolter and Kalynne Asche will play key roles for Shook this spring. Wolter pitched and Asche played center field on junior varsity.

Shook said his team is working to achieve a goal to win the sectional this spring.

“We have to take it one game at a time and continue to improve,” he said. “Then we will be where we need to be at the end of the year. We are looking to improve on the successful 2012 season and win the sectional in 2013.”

Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.