GALION — Northmors softball squad will take to the diamond this season with some big fill shoes to fill, and a lot of youth. Gone are 2018 graduates Cristianna ‘Tiny’ Boggs and Kelsie Fike.
“The impact on both offense and defense that those two girls brought to the game will be truly missed,” said fifth-year head coach Russ Montgomery.
But Montgomery, who boasts an overall career record of 50-46, as well as varsity assistant Matt Wiseman, return some valuable experience. A pair of four-year starters will suit up: Lily Tate and Aly Blunk. In addition to their senior leadership, junior Michaela Zeger, and the sophomore pitching duo of Maddie Hoverland and Megan Adkins return in hopes of competing in a very difficult Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference.
“Returning starters that will be key to the success of the Lady Knights,” Montgomery said. “Four year starter Lily Tate will do a lot of the catching duties and provides a lot of run production at the plate. Aly Blunk, will be at shortstop and with her improved arm strength and accuracy, she will help bolster the defense in the infield. Sophmores Megan Adkins and Maddie Hoverland, who both turned in really good performances in the circle last year, will share the pitching duties.”
Montgomery has a strong number of underclassmen out for his squad, including sophomores Julieanne Kincaid, Rosie Sklenicka, Joycieanne Cooper, Morgan Wiseman, Megan Mcglothlin and Rylee Hollingsworth and freshmen Aliyah Martinez, Bristin Yeater and Emma Marshall.
“We’re still trying to find out what these freshmen and sophomores are made of,” the coach said. “Stepping in to a varsity role isn’t the easiest thing to do as a freshman and a few of the underclassmen will have to play junior varsity to obtain valuable in-game reps.”
After finishing with a 13-11 overall record, including a 7-6 mark in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference, Northmor looks to improve this season.
Cardington won the KMAC in its’ inaugural season in 2018, finishing the year with a loss in the Division III state championship game to Warren Champion (9-4). The Lady Pirates were 24-3 last year, 12-2 in the league.
“In the second year of the KMAC, the level of play is tremendous. Two final four teams from last year (Cardington, Danville) being in the league makes for a real competitive league and they are both pretty good year after year,” says the skipper. “This is the level we want to attain and the minimizing of mistakes is a priority in order to do so.”
The season starts Saturday, March 23 with a trip to Crestline and a doubleheader with the Lady Bulldogs. KMAC play starts March 25 at Fredericktown.
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