The Orchard Park softball team looks to improve on a successful 2012 campaign (10-8, 6-4 ECIC I) with a roster comprised mostly of underclassmen.
The Quakers feature a 13-player roster with three seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, one freshman, and an eight-grader.
Despite its youth, the Quakers feature several young players with varsity experience in tow.
Sophomore Rachel Johnson returns to second base after leading the Quakers with a .529 batting average. Sophomore Katie Weimer (.455 batting average) returns and sophomore Shaye Swiatek will play shortstop for another season after hitting .350 with a .452 on-base percentage.
Two key players for Orchard Park will be the team’s pitchers, senior Carly Loffredo and sophomore Kaylee Jentsch. Both players pitch with confidence and give the Quakers a chance to win any given game.
“We have two strong pitchers,” said coach Josh Dannecker, who co-coaches with Brittany Bonetto. “We’ll rotate them pretty evenly.”
Loffredo and Jentsch pitched every inning last season with impressive results. Jentsch tossed 81 2/3 innings and earned a 7-4 record with a 1.71 earned run average, while Loffredo earned a 2-4 record with a 2.03 earned run average and 23 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. Jentsch was also effective at the plate with a .419 batting average her freshman season.
The talented group of sophomores has proven its talent, but the players must now develop into effective leaders.
“They’re young, quiet young,” said Dannecker. “We need the leadership from the sophomores in that they are playing key positions. They have to learn how to be vocal leaders.
“For us, it’s a challenge. We want to get them up and going. Shaye is moving into the role and have more confidence in the vocal area. She certainly has confidence at the plate. She has confidence in her abilities. Confidence as a leader, you’re seeing more of it.”
Dannecker is impressed with Weimer, who will be the team’s top option at catcher, a position that requires intense communication. “Katie is being vocal and positive,” said Dannecker.