Depth could be important for softball squad
Returning eight varsity players, including two starting pitchers from a year ago, should keep BHS softball coach Ginny Honomichl from being too nervous before the season begins next week.
But, that's not the case at all.
The reason: two pairs of varsity players will miss games because of prior commitments with other BHS groups.
"We know we are going to be missing some kids because of other school functions with a trip to France and a trip to Chicago," Honomichl said. "We know we are going to have to develop some opportunities at our deep positions for those ladies who will be gone."
BHS sophomores Haley Finucane and Alex Zordel will miss the season opener next week. Both girls are traveling with the French group that took its bi-annual trip to France.
Then senior Kim Gilges and junior Callie Craig will miss at least one game in late April. They are taking the BHS band trip to Chicago to perform.
One reason Honomichl is worried is because Craig is one of the starting pitchers.
"Callie is so instrumental with how well she pitches," Honomichl said. "One of those girls that will be gone will be Callie, so we need (senior) Courtney (Johnson) and Alex Zordel to step up. It's a lot better to have that challenge this year than it would have been last year."
Although those challenges lie ahead for the Bulldogs, Honomichl and the team is glad to have Craig and Johnson back for another season.
"It's going to be an advantage for us, because we only lost two seniors," senior Annie Hannon said.
Craig said that having Hannon as the catcher back this year will also help the Bulldogs this spring.
Having many returnees from a year ago has been beneficial for BHS during the first couple of weeks of practice, which began March 5.
"With so many people back on the varsity level, it's just renewing what they already know and adding some little things to make it run better," Honomichl said. "On the junior varsity level, with so many sophomores back, that makes the learning curve go faster and freshmen pick it up sooner."
The Bulldogs have two foreign exchange students on the roster. They are Mimi Shofaniya and Charlotte Cohrs.
"We've enjoyed our two foreign exchange students, Mimi from Israel and Charlotte from Belgium," Honomichl said. "Charlotte had the knowledge of the game, but Mimi knew nothing. She knows a little bit more now, but they have both been enjoyable."
The Bulldogs are one of the many spring teams that has taken advantage of the weather during the first two weeks of practice.
"Practices are going fine, especially since we've been able to be outdoors except for two practices," Honomichl said. "It's been wonderful weather."
The rain and colder temperatures have hurt practice numbers during spring break this week.
"Practice is going good," Craig. "It's been raining on us, so hardly anyone has showed up. But we had been outside almost every day, which is good for this time of the year."
Honomichl said practicing outdoors is much more beneficial to the team, although the fluctuating temperatures have helped the Bulldogs use all of their gear.
"It's more like softball when we can get outside," Honomichl said. "It also helps us get our gear together. We go from 80 (degrees) one day to 50 on another day, so we are able to get all of our gear out. It's been a good trial run for us."
As with other teams, Baldwin has been preaching fundamentals in practice, whether it is offensive or defensive.
"For the first week it was fundamentals," Honomichl said. "We actually scrimmaged yesterday. We always believe if you can't stop them from scoring, you have to out score them."
Hannon said the Bulldogs have a few areas to improve on before the season opens next week at Central Heights.
"We have a lot of potential, but we have a lot to work on, too," Hannon said. "Our outfield needs some work along with our fielding."
One thing Honomichl wants to see before too long is some leadership from her six seniors.
"We need some leadership to step up," Honomichl said. "That's probably what I haven't seen yet. We have a good group of seniors, but they haven't quite figured out how they are going to be the leaders. We definitely need that to happen."
Baldwin begins its season with a single game March 29 at Central Heights.