NORTH ROBINSON — It’s not often that one finds a career coach for one program. Head coach Chuck Huggins of the Colonel Crawford Lady Eagles softball team is just that.
Entering the 2018 spring season, Huggins will send his squad out onto the diamond for a 31st year. In that time frame, Huggins’ Eagles teams have gone 612-214, including a 21-6 overall finish in 2017 which included 13-3 in the Northern-10 Athletic Conference, good for second place behind the Upper Sandusky Lady Rams (22-5, 15-1).
Much like previous seasons, Huggins lost a decent amount of talent, but returns talent that he hopes will propel the Lady Eagles to heights often achieved. Abbie Bradshaw, Alexis Burkhart, Stefanie Huggins, Kerri Reynolds and Abbi Teglovic are all gone from last year’s squad and taking away a number of honors with them as they graduated.
“We’ve got experience with outstanding senior leadership,” begins the skipper. “The girls also have a strong work ethic, are incredibly versatile and have an admirable camaraderie. It’s a true pleasure to have the opportunity to coach yet another Colonel Crawford softball team that sincerely cares about one another.”
At the core of that senior leadership will be Crawford’s ace pitcher Sydney Studer. Studer has achieved first-team all-Ohio honors twice and was in the top-five in nearly every statistical category in the N-10 a season ago. Other season leadership will come courtesy of Ashton Hoepf, Karlie Kurtzman, Jensyn Fredritz, Caitlin Koschnick, Lydia Strouse, Karissa Rowlinson and Tayler Miller.
Coach Huggins addressed some of the concerns heading into the 2018 campaign.
“Offensively, we need to create a lineup that is complete and productive from 1-9. On the defensive side of things, we have some key positions that we need to fill due to graduation and always keep improving at all nine of those positions. Most importantly, we just need to stay healthy.”
Looking to come in and help fill in the gaps for the Lady Eagles, in addition to the returning seniors will be juniors Danielle Horsley, Hailey Ratliff, Izzie Stalter and freshman Jocelyn Shade.
As for what the Crawford squad has to look forward to in ‘18?
“Our conference continues to keep getting stronger and stronger every year,” says Huggins. “There is excellent coaching throughout and players that are committed to their teams. Upper is again the favorite but my team will come out and proudly carry on the tradition that previous Colonel Crawford softball teams have established.”
Like many spring sports, the softball season for the Lady Eagles saw their opening weekend contests postponed. They will look to kick off their conference schedule, weather permitting, on the road on Wednesday, March 28 at Carey. The following day, Crawford will play host to those same Lady Blue Devils.