By Kenny Varner
LEWISTOWN – Despite the loss of numerous strangers from Last year’s District 6 Champion MIfflin County girls softball team, there is a strong feeling of excitement for this year’s squad and what it might bring to the table.
With a batch of rising talented underclassman fans will be excited with what they see as the season gets underway.
With the team’s success last year, coach Craig Weston didn’t look at the season with wins and losses but just took his squad game to game with the hopes of improving along the way.
“We preached to the girls take it one game at a time and improve,” said Weston. “I know we got hot there making that run in the states there but honestly we just had them focus on one game at a time and not look back but look to the future.”
Weston has a large group of assistants this season to help him out. They are: Assistants: Hannah Bubb, Terry Henry, Selina Breneman, Craig Johnson, Matt Maxwell, Eric and Sheila Specht and JB Baker.
“We have a good many coaches that are allowing us to spend some more individual time with kids,” said Weston. “It will be a big help in trying to hone their skills.”
The Lady Huskies lost seven seniors from last years team.
“We’re going to be young. In saying that it’s been refreshing,” said Weston. “ Everyone is competing. All the positions are open. Not that there not open every year but when you lose that many senior starters it just really opens the door for the kids who com everyday and compete. It makes everyone better.”
However, the Huskies do have some returning letter winners that will be looked upon to help the team in the leadership department.
“We’ll have Maddy Wolfgang coming back and there was some JV players that got their feet wet too. But Maddie Wolfgang will be pitching,” said Weston. Peyton McClure got substantial time as well. Jesse Brumbaugh is back she saw some valuable time, Audrey Jordan got into some state games. With that being said we have some players coming back with some experience but just not as much as you would like to have.”
Weston doesn’t have a prerequisite on who he is looking for for leadership. He is just looking for someone to take the torch and run with it.
“We’ve sort of opened that up to the seniors. We look for those seniors to take that responsibility,” said Weston. “But we also told the others that ‘I don’t care if you are junior or a sophomore we just want you to be a leader. That doesn’t mean yelling or screaming. You can lead by example by coming everyday and giving 110 percent, doing drills, and when things start to go a little sideways just grab everyone and say hey, take a breath and let’s get it together’. Obviously I expect and hope those seniors will do that but it can come from anyone.”
Despite being handcuffed by not being able to get outside, Weston can still see some of the team’s strengths start to materialize.
“It’s early. But one thing I see is that our youth can be a benefit. They’re hungry and they are competing,” said Weston. “I think our overall team speed is going to be a plus this year. I think more than anything we have good team comrodery. They are always cheering each other on. They push each other also without thinking anyone is better than anyone else. They have really grasped the team concept.”
Weston doesn’t just see one younger player that is making a name for themselves but he has the total package.
“I always say when you get varsity softball, it doesn’t matter if you’re a senior or you played last year or you’re a new ninth grader, you come out and you compete and we’re trying to win ball games,” said Weston. “We have a lot of young kids out and I don’t to single anyone out but there is a good group of ninth and 10th graders and really all the way through. Ive been impressed with everyone. They’ve all been pushing hard.”
One of the things that the Huskies are trying to quickly work on is experience.
“To me right off the bat is just getting experience. We need to get these girls in game situations that maybe may not have seen in JV,” said Weston. “So I think it’s just getting them In game situations at that speed so they get the flow of the game.”
The goals for this years team are simple ones.
“This year the goals is play as a team and get better every day,” Weston said. “We have to sit down with the team yet but my goal for the team is just improve everyday. As long as you’re improving you are not going the other way. That is one thing we harp on. Get better. Get better everyday.”
Playing in such a tough Mid-Penn League division, Weston doesn’t see just one team as being tough, it could be any team on any given day.
“It could be anyone. With playing in that league everyday there are no guarantees,” said Weston. “ If you don’t come ready to play and ready to go any given team can beat you.”
Mifflin County opens its season Thursday March 25th against Central Mountain.