Senior-led Saints set to compete behind talented standouts
After a long 2018 season marred especially by difficulties from the mound, the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints softball team is ready to prove they’ve found the missing pieces that kept last season’s unit from reaching their maximum capabilities.
“The last few seasons have been tough,” head coach Meredith Marsh said, “but this group is working to change that trend.”
Scoring runs hasn’t been much of a problem for the Saints, and it shouldn’t be this year, either.
“We have had a strong offense and put a lot of runs on the board,” Marsh said, “I think our lineup top to bottom will be pretty strong offensively.”
The Saints’ offense should be poised for even more success than it has been in previous years, as they lost only one player to graduation, Meghann Roepe.
They will be down another key member of last season’s squad, however, as Lynda Bennett’s senior season of softball was taken away due to a torn ACL from basketball season, ending her high school athletics career. She will be a leader in the dugout, but her presence will be missed — both from the middle of the lineup and from her usual position, catcher.
Defense has also been an Achilles Heel for the Softballin’ Saints, although part of that ultimately roots back to the pitching drought.
Freshman Hailey Arnold will be turned to for strikes for the majority of the season. Despite her age, Arnold — who also had an impressive season on the basketball court, potentially helping her ease her nerves heading into varsity softball action — is expected to be a catalyst for the Saints.
“Hailey’s presence on the mound will be a good indicator of our team’ success,” Marsh said. “That may be a lot of pressure for a freshman, but she has a strong group of seniors around her that will give her strong defensive support.”
Watch out for seniors Chelsea Dillon, Chloe Fuhrman, Malaina Putsch, Tori Ritzma, and Rachel Gresham to lead the team from both a leadership perspective and statistical one as well. Dillon and Fuhrman’s power production could leave the I-70 Conference scared to pitch to them, but plenty of bats around the lineup will leave opposing hurlers no choice but to take each Saints’ plate appearance seriously.
Despite the ambitious group of Saints poised to reverse the program’s recent fortunes, Marsh has just one goal for this group: approach every day as “just one game at a time.”
“We just want to win ballgames,” Marsh said.
With the tools around the locker room and leadership galore, it really does appears that all they’ll have to do is take it one game at a time. If they do that, the rest of the cards will fall into place themselves.