Softball starts season 2-5

For a team that is heavy with underclassmen after losing five graduating seniors, varsity softball head coach Terry Elledge had two words come to mind: young and inexperienced. Four freshmen and two sophomores start for the 2-5 Wolverines, along with three seniors (Julie Fernandez, Laurie Schleimer, and Stephanie Da Silva).

“We see potential, we see some kids that played well last year that haven’t quite gotten back to that level yet this year,” Elledge said. “We’ve always been a program where freshmen have come in and, if they’re good, can jump right to the varsity, that’s not unusual.”

Two weeks ago, the team competed against a squad from Dallas, Texas, and won 15-0.

“We played well that day, all three pitchers threw well, we hit well, and when we do those things, even though we’re young, we’ve had some moments where we’ve played where I think we can eventually get,” Elledge said.

Part of the challenge for Elledge and the rest of the coaching staff will be to develop the girls’ skills to allow for improvement.

“We have really intense, although not long, practices trying to simulate game situations as much as we can, do live hitting when we can, do a lot of defensive situation work, to put them in pressure situations,” Elledge said. “As long as they keep working hard, they’ll get better, I have no doubts in my mind that they’ll get better.”

The season is still young, but Elledge has noticed some early trends setting into place.

“Our team usually follows our pitchers,” he said. “If our pitchers have a quality game, for some reason our offense usually steps up. If our pitcher is struggling, our offense hasn’t been able to to, so far, allow the pitcher have a mediocre game but still score 8 or 9 runs and win a game 8-7, we don’t tend to do that. We either win low scoring games, or we aren’t winning.”

Last year, the team finished with a 7-3 Mission League record, good enough to qualify for CIF, where the girls lost in the second round.