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Karcher takes over as head coach of Thomas Jefferson varsity softball program

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The starting lineup for the Thomas Jefferson varsity softball team is set.

Now, all that rookie head coach Heidi Karcher and the TJ girls need to have is some cooperation from Mother Nature.

The TJ starting lineup, at least in the early going. consists of:

• Rachael Bowers — second base

• Becca Bachman — center field

• Rachel Battle — third base

• Janelle Allison — left field/pitcher

• Kyla Prickett — first base

• Amanda O'Toole — catcher

• Taylor Dubs — pitcher

• Lexie German — shortstop

• Bayli Moon — right field

“Our bats will be our strength,” said Karcher, who has taken over for the retired John “Hoppy” Mitruski. “We need to tighten up our defensive skills.”

Battle is the lone senior in the lineup, while Bachman, Allison, Prickett, O'Toole, Dubs and German are juniors.

Bowers and Moon, meanwhile, are freshman athletes.

“Rachel Battle has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills thus far for the team,” Karcher said. “I have high expectations for her on the hot corner and offensively at bat.”

The Lady Jaguars' leading reserves include junior outfielders Tara Conley and Meghan Shaffer; Chloe Matrascia, a junior first baseman; and Emily Scheidter, a freshman catcher.

“Our pleasant surprises this year is the talent in the freshman class and the power we have offensively,” Karcher said.

Karcher formerly was head coach at Peters Township, and played Division I college softball at Penn State.

She is assisted by Shannon Schleicher, who played softball and basketball and Geneva College; and pitching coach Erin Montgomery, who will serve as head coach of the junior varsity squad.

Montgomery formerly was a pitcher at Allegheny College.

Karcher predicted Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward and South Park will be the teams to beat in section play this year.

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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