West’s senior-laden softball team hoping to make noise
West Seneca West’s softball team found itself in multiple “trial by fire” scenarios — and games — last season with a roster devoid of a single senior. And though that inexperience led to a lesser finish than desired in the win column, coach Lori Potter hopes that it helped the Lady Indians build the character needed to return the program to prominence this spring.
Eight seniors and one junior return off last year’s squad, and more than half of them will be marking their third season at the varsity level. Leading the charge among West’s veteran core will be ECIC Division I All-stars Allie Chavanne and Leslie Keegan. Chavanne, a third-year second baseman, “bats well and is quick once she gets on base,” according to Potter, and was a First Team All-star. Keegan, a fourth-year pitcher, was a Second Team All-star.
Rounding out the Lady Indians’ senior core this season are Stephanie Sherwood (outfield/ shortstop), Julie Schiandra (center field), Kali Supples (outfield) and Marissa Kazmierczak (right field). The remainder of the squad is comprised of first-year varsity players Tori Hildebrand (first base), Morgan Hooley (shortstop), Ashley Flanigan (right field) and Tori Dzaak (pitcher), all of whom are juniors, as well as sophomore Carly Beam (catcher).
Potter expects there to be solid chemistry between Dzaak and Beam if and when they’re in the lineup together, since they already play together quite a bit during the summer — and actually sees quite a bit of potential in all of West’s possible battery combinations.
“Both of our catchers this year are solid, and all three pitchers are solid as well,” Potter said. “Leslie throws the ball extremely hard, and Tori has some decent movement on her pitches. She’s a solid all-around softball player. We just have to do our best to play well defensively behind them, and that means keeping the errors down. We also need to make sure we score some runs for them when we get runners in scoring position.”
Dzaak came within a hair of picking up West’s first win of the season April 3, but ultimately ended up taking the loss in the Lady Indians’ 6-4 extra-innings defeat at the hands of Clarence. West had a 4-0 lead after the first inning, but a three-run home run by Clarence in the fourth inning shifted the momentum to the Lady Red Devils’ favor.
Clarence knotted the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, and an overthrow on a pickoff attempt at third in the top of the eighth led to the Lady Red Devils’ game-winning run.
“I thought this game was more indicative of how we’d play all year, compared with our first game,” Potter said. “We hit very well and just generally played a very good game. I really think we’ve got some good batters in our first six or seven girls in the order, so by the time we’re really going strong in the schedule our hitting should definitely be one of our strengths.”
Keegan, meanwhile, took the loss April 2 in West’s 9-0 setback against Frontier. The Lady Indians were plagued by a lack of offensive production — as well as errors in the field — and Frontier was more than happy to take advantage.
West (0-2 overall) will return to action Wednesday, April 18, at Lancaster with the hope that a 15-day layoff between games won’t lead to a return to the form displayed against Frontier.
“If we can find ways to score when we get runners on base, we should be okay,” Potter said. “There doesn’t really seem to be that overpowering team in our division this year like there has been in the past — everyone’s on level ground, and there doesn’t really seem to be a real preseason favorite — so I’m hoping that the experience of our kids who have been on the team for a while, as well as from those who play in the summer, helps us out this year.”
|4-18||at Lancaster||4:45 p.m.|
|4-20||Orchard Park||4:30 p.m.|
|4-24||Jamestown (at Fireman’s Park)||5 p.m.|
|4-24||Mt. Mercy (at Fireman’s Park)||7 p.m.|
|4-25||Williamsville North||4:30 p.m.|
|4-28||at Depew Tourney (at Walden||Pond Park) 11:30 a.m.|
|4-30||at Clarence||4:45 p.m.|
|5-1||at Starpoint||4:45 p.m.|
|5-2||Sweet Home||4:45 p.m.|
|5-7||at Williamsville North||4:45 p.m.|
|5-9||at Orchard Park||4:45 p.m.|
|5-14||at Sweet Home||4:45 p.m.|
|5-15||at West Seneca East||4 p.m.|
** Schedule subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. For up-to-the-minute information, visit www.wscschools.org/athletics. cfm or call the Athletics Department at 677-3141.