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Deep Whitnall softball squad has high hopes for 2014 season

Plenty of talent available for Falcons

April 8, 2014

Going into the 2014 season, Whitnall head softball coach Tom Hickman and his staff faced a bit of a problem — but one that any coach would like to have.

The Falcons possessed a surplus of talent.

"Tryouts were very intense this season," said Hickman, whose team is coming off a 14-7 season that included a share of the Woodland Conference East Division championship. "As a staff, we had some incredibly hard decisions to make.

"We have some very capable players on the junior varsity roster who could come up to varsity and make an impact. We have capable players coming off the varsity bench. We have more depth now than at any point in my three years here. We are experiencing growing pains with the influx of talent, but that's a great problem to have."

Return 11 letter-winners

The Falcons return 11 letter-winners, including seven starters, from last season.

Junior infielders Renee Caron and Liz Thon are back for their third seasons as starters. Thon has earned all-Woodland first-team honors twice and was also a member of the NOW Newspapers All-Suburban team in 2013, while Caron has been named honorable mention the past two seasons.

Also working in the infield will be senior Sydney Opdahl, who batted over .500 last season, at second base and freshman Sierra Grubor at shortstop.

"Sierra is young but does things you just can't teach," Hickman said. "Her athleticism really stands out on the diamond."

The pitching staff is young, with sophomores Alex Cimler and Sarah Bauer returning after logging extensive innings last season, and current freshman Lara Stachowski joining them.

"Carrying three pitchers is not ideal, as it's tough to find innings for all of them," Hickman said, "but they all understand that performance dictates how much time they get in the circle."

The outfielders are junior Amanda Rosenwald, who returns to softball after running track last season; freshman Emily LaMonte and sophomore Valeri Nowak.

Hickman is optimistic about the season, adding, "We feel we have improved at nearly every spot on the field. Our starting lineup is more athletic than last year, and the new starters bring strong arms and skills in the batter's box."

Weather fouls up plans

The Falcons, like everyone else, have run into one foe they cannot defeat — the inclement weather.

They have already rescheduled eight games this season, meaning that once they get going, they will be playing virtually every day.

They are slated to visit Greendale at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, and New Berlin West at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 11. They will play in a makeup tournament at noon Saturday, April 12, at Oconomowoc.

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