By Todd Rohde~CORRESPONDENT

The Johnsburg softball team comes into the new season optimistic about their chances of being competitive and successful out on the field. And the Lady Skyhawks have plenty of reasons to be confident, as they have plenty of experience and leadership to build on this year.

“I don’t see why we can’t be competitive and in every game, as we have everyone back except one starter,” Johnsburg head coach Wally Warner said. “We will come ready to play and do our best each and every time that we take to the field, as I think that we might surprise some people/teams along the way.”

The Skyhawks are hoping that another year of experience under their belts will help them improve on their 16-19 overall record and 6-6 mark in conference play from a season ago. Johnsburg advanced to the regional finals last year, but fell to Richmond-Burton.

Of the 13 players on the varsity roster, 10 of them are returning letter winners including having a program that consists of 10 juniors to go along with one senior, sophomore and freshmen. Serving as the team captains are senior all-conference player Bri Bear and juniors Kendall Huemann, Amy Majercik and Macy Ward.

Bear had an outstanding season for the Skyhawks last year both in the field at third base and at the plate, where she ripped 10 home runs and had 30 RBIs. Huemann will be the Skyhawks’ top prospect on the mound and Casey Adams will most likely be the teams’ No. 2 pitcher, as they will play in the outfield when not hurling the ball.

Other players include Ward in left field, Majercik at first base, Rachel Barnett at catcher, Carley Wilson at shortstop, Kayla Toussaint in centerfield, Amanda Cherwin at second base, Riley Erickson at pitcher, Anna Brown at pitcher/outfield, Kelly Ackerman in the outfield and Erin Pusateri in the infield/outfield.

“Our goal this year is to win the conference and work our way through the playoffs, while the keys will be to stay healthy and use our leadership and athleticism to our advantage,” Warner said.

If the Skyhawks are going to be in the running for a conference title, they will have to contend with the top teams of Grayslake North and Crystal Lake Central along the way. The strengths for Johnsburg will be their overall playing experience along with their pitching and hitting, while their defensive play may be a work in progress that may take some time to come along.

The Skyhawks began practicing Feb. 25 and have been going really well for the most part, as the kids look good and are excited about the season. Coach Warner said that his team is about a week further along than he expected them to be at this point, but it’s hard to get the full effect when you have to practice indoors do to the weather.

This is Warner’s sixth season as the varsity coach at Johnsburg and seventh overall there, but he has a lot of quality years within the sport of softball. This is his 26th year coaching in all, as most of them came at the helm of AAU traveling teams.

“I just love the sport of softball and once it’s in your veins, it’s hard not to want to be part of it for a long time,” Warner said. “I encourage the community to come out and support us at our games this year, as we will field a quality team to watch.”

 

 
 

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