Scotties expect pitching to be major strength
In terms of wins and losses, the Southmoreland girls softball team took a step backward in 2013.
The Scotties finished 8-8 last year and failed to make the playoffs after posting a 12-6 mark and earning a trip to the postseason in 2012.
This season, new coach Todd Bunner wants and expects the team to take steps forward.
“I think we'll be very competitive,” Bunner said, noting that offseason workouts accomplished much and were well-attended.
Bunner, who replaces former coach Kim Kelley, said he believes the Scotties' success will start on the mound.
“I like what I see from our pitchers,” Bunner said.
Senior Anna Marie Gatti, who has earned a softball scholarship to Syracuse, will be the backbone of the pitching staff.
“She'll pitch some really key section games,” Bunner said. “But my attitude is you have to have four pitchers.”
To that end, Bunner will rely on junior Kristen Suhan to pick up some of the workload on the mound. Freshmen Katy Trosi and Addie Nicholson are young players who also could factor into the mix.
Those pitchers likely will be throwing to senior catcher Kelsey Kuhns.
“She can control a game, and in the position that she's in, she's like another coach on the field,” Bunner said.
Look for senior Vanessa Richards to play third base, while Suhan and freshman Olivia Porter are expected to play at shortstop.
Senior Sara Brown could play at second, but she is dealing with a back injury, and the timetable for her return is unknown.
Sophomore Kylie Wisloski should see time at second, while sophomore Briana Bunner and Nicholson are possibilities at first base.
Suhan, Briana Bunner, senior Sara Rock and junior Trisha Bungard likely will make up the outfield.
Suhan, who will be called upon to fill several different positions, is eager to make improvements on last season.
“I'm expecting to make the playoffs because we have a lot of dedication,” said Suhan, who pointed out that experience also could be a pivotal factor in the team's success. “A lot of players play travel ball, and getting the experience from last year will help us put it all together.”
Todd Bunner confirmed that 10 players on this year's roster have played travel ball in the summer. It could prove to be a major benefit, especially at the plate.
“That's a key thing, and I think we'll be able to hit with the best teams in the section,” he said. “Our goal is to score five runs in every game, and with our pitching staff, it should equate to a lot of wins.”
Bunner will be assisted by Wes Nicholson. Both were middle school coaches in the program before this year.
Bunner said the transition to the varsity level has been easy thanks to the support he has received from the school administration, and he would like to make his first season one to remember.
“Being competitive in the section is definitely a goal of ours, and in the back of my mind, I have high expectations,” Bunner said.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.