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CVCA softball team exceeding expectations

5/2/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) softball head coach Jeff Johnson said this year’s team has “the attitude that we have a chance to win every night we play.”

“I think they come into games and expect to win now,” he said. “I think that’s exciting to see.”

In 2012, the team finished with a 10-18 overall record and a 4-10 mark in the Principals Athletic Conference-7 (PAC-7). This year, however, CVCA was 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the PAC-7 through the first 14 games of the season.

“I think we came in with some expectations,” the coach said. “We’ve got a mix of young [players] and veterans, and I think we were optimistic, but we might even be exceeding our expectations to a certain extent.”

Johnson credited his players with a strong desire to get better.

“Our kids have really worked hard and have wanted to improve. They have a great work ethic and they really want to learn,” he said. “We knew they had the ability. We’ve got a decent hitting team, but fielding can be an issue with us sometimes. Overall, we really like this group of kids, though.”

The team’s main pitcher this season, Johnson said, is senior Nicole Molher.

“She’s pitched for us for a couple of years,” the coach said. “She spent this offseason trying to get better so she could have a really good senior year. And she’s done fine for us this year.”

The other seniors on this year’s team are first baseman Kim Eaton and rightfielder Emily Herston.

“Kim is a four-year starter for our program. She’s gone through some lean teams with the program, but she’s always been a real solid player for us. She’s played just about every position,” Johnson said. “Emily’s doing really good this year. She has battled injuries most of her career, but it’s been really fun to have her healthy and be able to play up to her standards this year. She’s a great kid and I enjoy having her on the team.”

According to Johnson, CVCA has “a gang of juniors” this season.

“The juniors are our biggest group,” he said. “We have six juniors and it’s a pretty good class. It’s one of the better all-around classes we’ve had in a long time.”

The juniors on this year’s team are shortstop Cassie Hudson, catcher Taylor Dittrich, third baseman Jordan Budrevich, infielder Lauren Fishel, outfielder Morgan Petrie and centerfielder Lauren Hughes.

“Jordan is hitting around .550, and it’s a legitimate .550. She’s hit the ball like crazy and she’s having a great year,” Johnson said. “Lauren is our lead-off batter. She’s a little lefty slapper, and she’s really, really fast. She really worked hard in the offseason. The rest of them are good players, too.”

CVCA’s roster is filled out by sophomore outfielder Amanda Wesley, freshman leftfielder Abby Kebbel and freshman second baseman Katelynn Justice.

“Amanda is a multi-purpose player for us. She’s a good kid and a real hard worker,” the coach said. “Our two freshmen have been great contributors. They are probably the first two freshmen we’ve had in our varsity program in like three or four years that have come in and contributed right away. And we expect some really good things from them in the future, too.”

Johnson, who is in his 16th season as CVCA’s softball coach, said his team isn’t setting a specific goal for the remainder of the season.

“Our goal is to win as many games as we can, which I guess is the same as with anybody,” he said. “But if we can finish at .500 or better, I think that would be a successful season for our team.”

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