The 2019 North Union Lady Cat varsity softball team is pictured from left, front row, Josie Duncan, Chloe Price, Regan Martino, Madison Amstutz, Kennedy Ruhl, Laney Converse, Jacklyn Fishbaughn and Destiny Reebel; second row, coach Logan Martino, coach Steve Allen, Kayla Sedgwick, Candace Holloway, Grace Burris, Journey Blevins, Kori Marvin, Emma Lindsey, coach Terry Setser and head coach Dawn Draper.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The North Union softball team has made its return to the field after making it to Akron last season as a Final Four team in Division III.
The Lady Cats, though, have a younger team this spring.
North Union will field a varsity team of 12 players with only five returning lettermen.
Head coach Dawn Draper, though, believes the tradition of success at NU, along with the quality of her athletes, will win games this season
“We may be young, but we are not unfamiliar with softball,” she said. “My girls tend to play a lot of winter leagues and play lots of games in the summer through travel ball.
“They are working well so far this season to fulfill starting spots in my lineup.”
The Wildcats will lean hard on their pitching with several veterans taking the circle.
Josie Duncan, Madison Amstutz and Regan Martino will all have the challenge of pitching around their competitors as the Lady Cats enter their first season with the Central Buckeye Conference.
“I believe that we have really good pitching from three of our returning letterman in Josie, Madison and Regan,” said Draper. “I know that Amstutz and Martino rarely or never saw the field as a pitcher last year due to having Madison Wedding. However, they have great pitching skills that they have been showcasing in travel ball over the summers.”
With some players returning from last year’s state appearance team, North Union hopes the experience will help them find their way in the new league.
“Even though we are entering a new league, our expectations are set to win it,” said Draper. “We are excited to compete with this new league and learn about what talents they have to offer.”
To help fill the holes left by the graduation of several players, Draper will call upon some new young faces. Jacklyn Fishbaugh, Chloe Price, Emma Lindsey, Kayla Sedgwick, Candace Holloway, Journey Blevins and Gracie Burris will all step up to the varsity level this season to help a team that has high expectations.
The Wildcats may be new to the CBC, but they have some previous experience playing some teams in the league.
Still, they may have a tough time climbing to the top against teams that have also been to Akron.
“I can only imagine that all of these teams are ready to bring their best games to the (new team) of the league, ” Draper said. “We need to be ready for all of our league games, play our best and set a precedence for what NU softball is about. I hope to be at the top of that league come May.”
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