Entering the season ranked as an honorable mention in division three, the Harrison Lady Hornet softball team isn’t going to catch anyone off guard in 2013. That doesn’t mean the Hornets can’t have a repeat of last season’s showing, a year that saw the Hornets start the season 19-0 in early may and finished with a 26-10 overall and 9-5 Jack Pine Conference campaign.
“This year’s team can be just as successful as it wants to be as long as we continue to work hard every day and keep the family mentality that we have shown so far,” seventh year head coach Matthew Cooper said.
Aiding the cause are a strong core of seven seniors, who are joined by three juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
Seniors on the team are Hillary Brewer (pitcher, first base), Taylor Bondie (third base), Mary Devine (second base, outfield), Emily Gillespie (outfield), Erica Heckman (outfield), Savannah Duggan (outfield, third base) and Brandi Powell (outfield).
Juniors on the team are Katelynn Sherrick (outfield, second base), Mandy Houck (first base, outfield) and Haley Sulla (shortstop).
Allison Lipovsky (pitcher, first base) and Danielle Cullen (catcher, outfield) are the sophomores with Toni Fletcher (catcher, second base) making the squad as a freshman.
Cooper expects Brewer, Bondie, Lipovsky, Gillespie and Sulla to be the team’s top hitters and is counting on Lipovsky and Brewer to share pitching duties, as they did last season.
“We have a lot of experienced players returning and hope to be competitive against everyone we play this season,” Cooper said. “(Our team goals are to) work hard, have fun and leave it all out on the field.”
The coach feels the JPC could be wide open this season, so much so that he sees every team as a threat.
“Meridian, they are always good and have a lot of speed and pitching returning this season,” Cooper said. “Clare, they return almost everyone and will be very talented and fast this season. Beaverton returns a lot of players from last season and always contend for the conference.
“Farwell (is a) very skilled team who returns their pitcher this season, Gladwin will be young and skilled, Houghton Lake returns their pitcher and several key players that will make them tough and Roscommon has hard workers who could beat anyone. If we play well we hope to compete with these excellent teams this season.”
The Hornets opened their season yesterday at home against Manton. They return to action April 10 when they host Marion and host McBain on April 11.