WHS SOFTBALL: Trojans open up season todayWORTHINGTON — After compiling a 9-13 record last season, the Worthington softball team is looking to improve this time around.
WORTHINGTON — After compiling a 9-13 record last season, the Worthington softball team is looking to improve this time around.
The Trojans play their opening game of the 2012 season today against Fairmont at Centennial Park in Worthington and they are hoping to get off to the right start.
“We have a young team, so we’re pretty raw in some areas, but I think we’re looking pretty good,” WHS coach Sam Baumgartner said. “Hitting-wise we have some experience and our baserunning is strong. We have some good overall quickness. We’re a little behind the curve defensively, so it will take a little bit of time to figure out just where everyone is going to play.”
The middle of the field for the Trojans is just about the only set spots on the diamond.
Senior Angela Robinson — the only four-year starter on the squad — will pitch, junior K.C. Riley will catch and Jenny Majerus will play center field.
The only spot in the middle of the diamond which hasn’t been set in stone yet is the shortstop position. The Trojans lost Steph Barons to graduation last season and the shortstop will be missed. She was an all-conference player and a key to WHS’s all-around attack.
“That’s a huge hole to fill with Steph gone,” Baumgartner said. “It’s going to come down to who’s going to respond at various positions with the most consistency when it comes to filling up the rest of the holes in our lineup.”
However, one promising aspect of the team is the return of Riley to the lineup.
The junior missed all of last season because of a knee injury, but is back to start the 2012 season in tip-top condition.
Riley brings a lot of familiarity behind the plate, as she started there her sophomore year, and has a close connection to Robinson. In fact, the two claim to be best friends off the diamond.
“We are best friends and hang out all the time,” Robinson said of Riley. “It’s nice on the field because she knows when I’m off and she’s good at reading when I’m getting frustrated or have reached my limit, and she can calm me down. She’s such a good catcher. She’s good at communicating and has a really strong arm so she can get runners out at second.”
The Trojans have six seniors on the team who have all had varsity experience. Of the four juniors on the team, three have played at the varsity level and there are three sophomores on the squad as well — two who played up for varsity at times last year.
The main thing WHS has been working on during the preseason is becoming familiar with each other’s playing styles. Baumgartner said the main thing he has been telling the girls to prepare them for the regular season is to simply avoid giving up the big innings.
But regardless of the new roster, the Trojans are feeling confident entering their first game.
“We’re looking good in the cage and I think that once we get more familiar with each other we’ll be playing well as a whole team,” Riley said. “I hope we can win a lot more than we did last season, and I think that as long as we don’t get frustrated with ourselves that we should win more games than we have before.”
The Trojans will have a chance to improve from previous seasons this evening when they take on the Cardinals. Fairmont finished last season with a 4-12 record.
Although WHS doesn’t have a lot of practices with this seasons’ team under its belt, the coaches think the Trojans have good potential to grow from last year.
“We haven’t been above .500 in a number of years,” Baumgartner said. “I think we’re doing well right now, but we have a lot left to figure out. Obviously you want to be playing the best at the end of the year and I think we’ll be doing that, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be trying at the beginning to make some progress. If we do continue to get better I think we’ll take a big step in terms of growth and success of this team and program.”
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.