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Manchester softball team looking to reclaim league title

3/20/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

NEW FRANKLIN — Last year, the Manchester High School softball team finished with a 21-7 overall record and an 11-3 mark in the PAC-7 (Principals Athletic Conference) and everyone from that team has returned for another season.

“We have a lot of experience this year,” said head coach Jim Morehart. “We are expecting a lot out of this year’s senior class. They have a lot of experience, and four of them are four-year starters. This senior bunch has won 20 games or more every single year of their high school careers, so it’s a good, solid nucleus of kids. They work hard in the offseason.”

The seniors in this year’s starting lineup (with comments on each by the coach) are as follows:

  • Courtney Roth: “Courtney is a four-year starter and has been a solid contributor every year. She hit around .450 last year to lead the team in hitting. She had some knee issues last year, but played through it. She plays solid defense at shortstop.”
  • Rachel Fincham: “Rachel plays right field, and she’s just a great outfielder. She throws people out at first base and she is solid all-around on defense. She also bats in our No. 2 hole. She’s a good bunter and a good contact hitter.”
  • Kate Mash: “Kate hit around .440 and is a great first baseman. She is probably one of the best defensive first basemen I’ve ever had. She has already signed with Mount Union, so she will be going there to continue her college career.”
  • Haylee Zwick: “She is a three-year starter in left field, and she has a lot of softball knowledge. She’s also a good student. She’s probably the smartest girl on our team.”
  • Brooke Horning: “She’s a solid pitcher and a pretty good hitter. She was our main pitcher last year, as well. She’s just an overall good ballplayer. She knows the game well.”

Morehart said the team has “two No. 1 pitchers” this year in Horning and sophomore Jenna Williams.

“They’ll rotate a lot of the pitching duties, and they complement each other with the way they pitch,” he said. “Jenna is a good pitcher, and she split time last year with Brooke, as well. Jenna also plays center field, and she’s probably the fastest girl we have on our team.”

According to Morehart, this year’s team figures to be “very solid” across the board.

“We’ve got good hitting. As a team, we hit right around .360 last year. From top to bottom, we have solid hitters,” he said. “We’re also solid on defense. In our infield, we had an all-league freshman last year — and she’s a sophomore this year — in Emily Kusmits. She anchors down third base, and she hit over .400. And Tatum Christy rounds out our infield. She’s a sophomore second baseman who is a very solid ballplayer.”

Last year, Manchester finished second in the PAC-7 to Fairless High School, and Morehart said reclaiming the league title is “absolutely” the team’s No. 1 goal heading into the season.

“We’re looking to have a great year,” he said. “You have to be lucky and you have to be good. But, hopefully good things will come from putting in good work. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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