Findlay High School softball coach Michael Colyers isn’t shooting for the moon this season.
But the way he sees it, there are enough young stars on the roster to make that a realistic goal in the near future.
“This team is comprised of a really talented group of young players, guided by solid veteran leadership,” Colyer said as he prepares for his second season as FHS head coach.
Findlay has struggled to put wins on the board recently, going 4-21 last season and 11-62 over the past three years. But numbers are up, and Colyer can see the incoming talent in the freshman and sophomore classes as pivotal to turning things around.
“Despite being a young team, I believe we solidified three positions from last year,” Colyer said.
“I look for Brooke Brigadoi (sophomore shortstop) to have a breakout year along with senior second baseman Shelby Roether, and keep an eye on freshmen Kirstin Paris (outfielder) and Mickey Schmits (catcher).
“This is a really strong group of competitors that is hungry for success on the diamond. Overall, we’re looking to improve on last year and hopefully break into the top half of the TRAC (three Rivers Athletic Conference).”
Roether, one of two seniors on the varsity roster, heads into her final season on the cusp of a milestone. The Trojans’ second baseman belted three home runs last season and needs one to set the school record for career round trippers.
Colyers will also be counting on the veteran experience of juniors Libby Crow, Bree Snapp and Kailyn Abell.
Crow earned second-team all-TRAC honors after hitting .375 and stealing 25 bases her sophomore season. Snapp struck out 53 batters and received honorable mention all-league recognition as a pitcher, and Abell returns to hold down a spot in the outfield.
Crow can play a number of positions, but will also add pitching to her duties this season, giving Findlay a solid 1-2 combination inside the circle.
Four freshmen and two sophomores will likely round out Findlay’s starting lineup, including Brigadoi at short, Schmits behind the plate and Paris in the outfield. Mariah Nill, a sophomore, will start in the outfield, with freshmen Taylor Steinke (first) and Riley Langstaff (third) joining Roether and Brigadoi around the infield.
Senior Kaylee Rush and sophomore Miranda Benjamin will also see time in the outfield. Backing up the infielders will be sophomore Mackenzie Atchison.
Findlay’s young team will be tested early. The Trojans open the 2014 season next week with Three Rivers Athletic Conference games at Toledo St. Ursula on Monday, home with Toledo Notre Dame on Wednesday and at Oregon Clay on Friday.
Oregon Clay, which shared the TRAC title with Toledo Central Catholic in 2012 and won it outright last season, is a heavy favorite to repeat. The Eagles have six first- and second-team all-league players back from a 26-4 team that fell one win short of reaching the state tournament, including TRAC Pitcher of the Year Brooke Gallaher and TRAC Player of the Year Honnah Susor.
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