By Steve Peterson
Akron-Westfield girls’ softball team has been working hard since May 7 with practices in preparation for the 2013 season.
The regular season opened with a contest against Unity Christian in a War Eagle Conference game in Orange City May 21.
“We’re making progress. We have 24 players on the team and sometimes we practice varsity only or junior varsity and varsity,” said A-W Coach Todd Colt.
The Lady Westerners were WEC champions last season for the 10th straight year and had a 35-2 record, the third best in all Iowa classes as a regional finalist.
The 2012 All-WEC players were First Team pitcher Brandi Davis, Monica Harvey and Melissa Kroksh (all Class of 2012 alumni) and junior pitcher Kayla Tindall. Davis hit 0.357 last year and had 45 hits and 37 RBIs; Harvey hit 0.349 average, had 14 stolen bases; Kroksh had 40 total hits, hit three home runs, and had 35 RBIs. Tindall had 38 hits, five doubles, one home run and 26 RBIs.
A junior in 2012, Katie Coyle, and sophomore Dana Hedlund were named to the All-WEC Second Team. Katie Coyle had 19 RBIs and scored 28 runs. Dana Hedlund hit .336 batting average, had 31 runs scored and 27 RBIs.
But the focus is now squarely on 2013.
“We have five players, Grades 9-12, who can pitch. They did a lot of off-season work and are ready. We hope to put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense. There are things offensively and defensively we can work on,” said Colt after a scrimmage with West Lyon May 18.
After 239 strikeouts by Davis, Dana Hedlund was next with 57 and Tindall had 53 last year. Davis had 22 wins, Dana Hedlund 10 and Tindall three last season.
Freshmen on the team are Trisha Frerichs and Sam Johnson. Seniors are Katie Coyle, Jaclyn Smith and Haley Coyle. Juniors are Jordan Hansen, Bethany Eastman, Sarah Schroeder. Sophomores are Kortney Hedlund, Desi Oltmanns, and Ryleigh Schnell.
Assistant coaches are Kent Johnson and Rachel Harris with volunteers Brandi Davis and Shelby Johnson.
Early-season games for the Lady Westerners, with weekday games starting at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise listed: May 24, West Lyon, 5:30 p.m., in Inwood; May 25, Kingsley-Pierson tournament in Kingsley, to be announced; May 29, Remsen-St. Mary’s, home.
Contests in early June are June 3, Spalding Catholic, home; June 5, Gehlen Catholic of Le Mars, away; June 6, West Sioux, home; June 7 at Le Mars tournament, TBD; June 10, Hinton, away; June 12, Remsen Union, home; June 13, Unity Christian, home; June 14, Akron-Westfield tournament, home, TBA.