By Ben Murphy
The Harrison Lady Hornet softball team can breath a big sigh of relief. Their dominating ace is recovered from an injury sustained during the volleyball season and is ready to go.
“Allison Lipovsky has been cleared from her ACL injury and is ready to go this season,” eighth year head coach Matt Cooper said.
Lipovsky a junior, won 22 games as a pitcher last year and helped the Hornets go 25-6 overall and finish just ahead Clare with a 12-2 league record to win the program’s first ever Jack Pine Conference championship. She also had a solid season at the plate, hitting .467 with seven home runs and 45 RBI.
Lipovsky hardly did it alone last year as seniors Katelyn Sherrick (second base, pitcher, .345 average, 29 RBI), Haley Sulla (shortstop, .365 average) also return after seeing significant action last year.
Also returning for the team is senior Mandi Houck (outfield), junior Dani Cullen (catcher, first base, outfield) and sophomore Toni Fletcher (catcher).
New to the team is senior Mackenzie Lincoln (outfield), juniors Savannah Allen (outfield), Kourtney Krchamr (outfield), Katelyn Mogg (outfield), Carlie Bushell (utility), Anaca Boulton (outfield) and freshman Nicole Willman (third base).
“Team strengths are leadership, pitching and work ethic,” Cooper said. “Weaknesses would be our youth. Some of our new players must develop fast. We are young and are going to make mistakes. We have to learn from the mistakes we make and move on to the next play. The girls have a willingness to learn and are improving every day.
“Team goals are to get better every day, play hard, have fun and compete against the best teams in the league for the conference title,” Cooper added.
The Jack Pine Conference will have a host of hopeful contenders this year. Looking to knock off the defending champion Hornets are a Clare team that finished one game behind Harrison last year, a Farwell team returns nearly everyone from a squad that beat Harrison in districts last year and always tough teams from Meridian and Beaverton.
“Our league should be solid top to bottom again this season,” Cooper said. “Farwell returns everyone, Meridian is always loaded, Beaverton is always competitive and Clare will have outstanding athletes all over the field. Gladwin will be young but very talented, Houghton Lake and Roscommon should be much improved and we hope to be extremely competitive as well.”
Harrison is schedule to open the season at home on Monday against Grayling and plays again April 9 at Marion.