March 25, 2010

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Springside softball looks sharp in Shipley scrimmage

Pitcher/second baseman Michelle Cybularz, a Springside freshman, eyes up a pitch during last week’s scrimmage at Shipley.

Although a total of 11 players from the 2009 varsity roster are no longer with the club, the Springside School softball team made quite a strong showing in its initial scrimmage last Tuesday. The Lions jumped ahead of host Shipley School, 6-2, in the first inning of the practice game and led 9-4 at the finish.

“We’ve had limited practice time outdoors because of the weather,” pointed out veteran head coach Stephanie Mill, “so I was excited to see us start out strong and get a lot of runners on base right away.”

Springside graduated eight members of its 2009 ballclub, which finished in third place in the Girls Inter-Ac with a league record of 9-3. In addition, three underclassmen from last year’s squad are not back out for the team this spring.

In last week’s scrimmage the Lions started three freshmen, and all of them showed that they clearly know their way around a softball diamond.

“We have quite a few freshmen and sophomores on the team with good softball experience,” explained Mill. I think we’re in a better position than you would expect for a team that lost so many players from a year ago.”

If you’re only going to have one senior on the roster, it might as well be someone in the center of the action. The Lions’ lone upperclassman is pitcher Natalie Klotz, who began throwing for the varsity club as an eighth grader.

Junior Asha Deane started in left field in last week’s scrimmage, and her classmates, Dom Jones and Emma Korein, provide depth in the infield and outfield, respectively.

Two other Springsiders who began their varsity careers in eighth grade are now sophomores. Resyna Hughes remains in her usual spot at first base, while Alexis Giovinazzo has shifted from second base to shortstop.

Catcher Aly Markey and right fielder Torri LaSmith are sophomores who played with the first team last year, while two fellow tenth-graders are entirely new to the softball program. The newcomers are the Ingber twins, Alex (outfield/third base) and Chloe (outfield).

Another member of the outfield corps is LaSmith’s sister Taryn, a freshman. Three other ninth graders were given starting assignments in the Shipley scrimmage; Kelsea Brewer, at third base, Michelle Cybularz, at second, and Gianna Pownall, in centerfield. Cybularz is also a pitcher, and she and Klotz switched positions for the late innings of last Tuesday’s trial run.

In order to get her young squad to gel into an effective unit, Coach Smith said, “We’re just going to keep working on the fundamentals. We need to bring the outfield up to speed because we’ve been practicing inside where the space is limited. We’re working on making the right decision with the ball in a given situation. We also need to give our batters as much experience as possible working against live pitching.”

In lieu of taking a training trip to the deep south over spring break this year, the Lions have planned a three-game jaunt to the Washington D.C. area.

Although the Lions wound up third in the league last spring, they were actually part of a three-way tie for first place going into the final week of the season.

“Our returning players know how close we were,” Smith said, “and I think they believe that we have the potential to come out on top.”



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