New coach and new season for Carroll softball
By Luke Hanna, Sports Writer
Jimmi Westbrook (left) and Lindsey Vanlandingham (right) are both players on the 2016 Carroll Chargers softball team.
The Carroll Softball team, led by head coach Cassie Wolfe, plans on having a successful season and hopes to play better as a team. This Carroll team hopes to exceed expectations and get past sectionals during the post season.
The Carroll Softball team is heading into the season without any seniors having left from last season. However, the team did lose former junior Abby White—their main pitcher.
Junior Jimmi Westbrook is enthusiastic about the new pitcher, sophomore Kirsten Landez, who earned the position as the starter.
“We had one of our juniors transfer last year; Abby White,” Westbrook said. “She was our main pitcher which is a big loss for us. I’m excited to see one of our sophomores step up and become our ace. [Landez] is really good and I am really excited to see what she has.”
The Chargers also obtained a new head coach in Wolfe this season. Wolfe has already begun to change the practices to focus more on what the team needs to work on.
“I think we have picked up the conditioning a lot more,” Westbrook said. “Practice is now a little bit laid back. We focus more on breaking things down instead of just doing reps over and over.”
Wolfe has helped the team this season work a lot better together unlike previous seasons because in previous seasons the players have had many communication issues. Sophomore Lindsey Vanlandingham has also noticed that the coach is pulling the team closer together.
“There really hasn’t been any drama on the team this year but there was last year,” Vanlandingham said. “With a lot less drama I feel like we will be a lot closer and be able to talk about things more.”
Due to the limited number of juniors and seniors, the underclassmen have been very important to the team this year. Many sophomores that were on the team last year such as Shannon Cooke, Vanlandingham, Audrey Thomas, and Landez will get more playing time.
“We’ve lost some people in the infield and outfield so we are just going to need those players to step up this season,” Vanlandingham said.
Freshman Ava Nieuwlandt will be expected to be a valuable team member despite not having any experience on the team before.
“Ava Nieuwlandt is very good,” Westbrook said. “She’s very fast and she is a lefty so she plays first base and right field and I am really excited to see her play.”
This young Charger squad might not have as much experience as other teams, but they plan on doing big things. They hope to work towards beating Dekalb High School this season after losing to them in sectionals last season.
“I would say Dekalb [will be our most difficult opponent],” Vanlandingham said. “They have a very good pitcher.”
Carroll softball played their first game on March 25 as they lost to South Bend Adams. Their next game is on April 11 at Garrett High School.