Knights softball sports an athletic crew
Expectations are high for Tyler Consolidated softball this season are elevated as the Lady Silver Knights have a good mix of senior leadership, athleticism, and returning experience.
This year’s squad boasts 18 players consisting of five seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen.
Together they hope to improve on last year’s 10-17 record which went 8-6 in LKC games, good enough for third place in the North Division. Additionally they went 4-6 in OVAC play.
This season should be very exciting, as this is the most athletic squad I’ve seen in 16 years at the helm,” said Head Coach Charlene Galluzzo.
“Enthusiasm to learn and play the game in practice has been contagious. Our
athletes have been pushing hard to learn new offensive skills and defensive schemes. The extra work we’ve done on hitting should pay big dividends. Our seniors have taken the time to mentor our younger players in practice and their leadership will be a key to a successful season.”
Defensively the Lady Knights will be lead by their ace, senior Kaitlyn Goudy. Last season, much of the focus was on her as she pitched 120 and 1/3 innings while striking out 135 batters. Her strikeouts to bases on balls ratio was an amazing 5:1. As a result, she was named second team LKC as a pitcher, honorable mention Class AA all-state, and 2008 all-valley honorable mention.
Fellow senior Rachel Yoho will return to hold down the eight position at centerfield. On either side of her will also be seniors in Shaylee Dawson in rightfield and Kayla Fisher in left. Heather Lynch, another senior, will fill first base.
Two other returning letter-winners will line the infield with Christy Jones at third base and Heather Suter at shortstop or pitcher. Jones’ fielding was one of the key defensive components of the team last season.
Her .897 fielding average is the highest amongst returning players.
Her bat will be the main component of the Silver Knights offense as she lead the team last year with a .377 batting average.
She was named second team team LKC as a utility player, second team OVAC and special mention Class AA all-state and 2008 all-valley honorable mention.
In the rotation, Suter will serve as the No. 2 pitcher.
Behind the plate is a nifty freshman, Sami Jones, who will be calling the signals and running the defensive set. The speedy Keri Suter, another freshman, will control the second base bag. Suter will also be the third pitcher in the rotation.
Juniors Maika McIntyre and Stephana Wilcox will battle it out for a back-up role at third base and pinch hitting honors. Super sophomores Emily Moore (first base/outfield), Mallory Hammond (outfield/pinch runner) and Amanda Goodfellow (catcher/infield) will serve in a utility capacity. Rounding out the roster is freshman Jennifer Yost who is a pitcher, outfielder and pinch runner.
Other players on the roster that will see action are junior outfielders Maggie Kimball and Laken Underwood and sophomore southpaw, Hillary Lamp.
“The beauty of our team is that everyone can play more than one position,” said Coach Galluzzo. “The nice thing is with our infield, I can mix and match them any way I want to and it will still work.”
Offensively, the team will have to try and replace the production of Tonya Riffle, the teams only other .300-plus hitter. So far they are on track to do that as a result of more concentration on hitting in practice.
“We really focused this year on hitting and we’ve spent about an hour a day in practice on hitting,” Galluzzo added. “We’re going to spend a good bit of time every day hitting. They’re buying in to what we’re trying to teach, so we’re working on those little intricacies of the game.”
This season, the team has set a couple of goals that would be firsts in the history of the program. One of them is to qualify for the OVAC tournament. The other is to finish in the top two spots of the LKC North division.
Coach Galluzzo also said that she wants to “get one step better every day” so they can make a run for the state tournament.
“They have good game knowledge and good game instincts,” added Galluzzo. “They’re going to make mistakes, but they aren’t going to make a whole lot of mistakes. This is the most athletic team I’ve had in 16 years.”
Galluzzo will be assisted by Roger Smith in his 14th season and Tomela
Paden, a newcomer to the Silver Knights softball program.
They open the season on Friday against the Paden City Wildcats.