The Flashes graduated nine seniors so Kathy Stricker, the team’s only coach in its softball history, realizes the challenge.
“We have a good corps of kids back, but they don’t have a lot of experience,” Stricker said. “We have some promising players, but we have to be on our game early. Everything from top to bottom will need some work and improvement.”
Returning with the most varsity experience: senior pitcher/designated hitter Katie Back (.300, 1-1, 3.00 ERA), shortstop Claire Gilliland (.410, 32 hits, 32 RBI, 27 hits) and center fielder Taytum Schaney (.351, 33 hits).
“This is definitely a new team although some of us have played together for a long time,” said Gilliland, a Butler commit. “It will be exciting for us (seniors) to work with the younger players. I think we can do some great things.”
Back, the Flashes’ hardest thrower last year, takes over the mound after the graduation of hurlers Shelby Herron (.435, 14-3, 0.97 ERA), who plays at Marian, and Dani Wyse, (.355, 5-1, 58 ERA), a frosh at Taylor.
Seniors Nicole Austin and Emily Falks add power. Junior utility player Kenzie Hart (.500, 19 runs) brings speed. Junior Mariah Jenkins is behind the plate. Miranda Dunn and Casey Matthews are key newcomers.
The Flashes hit an impressive .368, led by Elana Horen, (.449, 48 hits), Indiana State, and Delaney Thompson, (.413, 38 hits, 29 RBIs) IUPUI.
“We will have a good mix of power and speed at the plate,” Stricker said. “We have some speed with some of our freshmen that we can bring up later.”