PERU — St. Bede softball is coming off of a 21-9 (3-1 NCIC) campaign and looking for more this season as they wait on the weather or a long trip to provide a reasonable playing environment. Most of the starting lineup will have experience backing them up when play finally begins.
“I’ve got seven or eight kids that have actually played quite well the last couple of years. I feel really good about that. It was the last loss that bothered me so much,” second-year head coach Bill Prokup said.
The Bruins will rely heavily on the pitching of senior Lainie Schwieckert, who was 16-6 last season with a 1.47 ERA. She also led her team with a .367 batting average.
“You know what, I would say I have a good pitcher, and that helps. We’ve got five or six returning starters from last year including Schweickert, Lydia Stariha (C) and Mo Dean (1B). That’s a good thing to have a good pitcher and catcher coming back. Then I’ve got a couple of seniors, Barbi Prokup (2B) and Abby Nowakowski (SS), who both started some games last year.
“I feel pretty good about my defense, pitching, and catching. We’ve replaced some kids from last year in the outfield and at third base. Those positions are big for me. Some juniors are going to get an opportunity. I’ve got Olivia Miller and Abbey Christensen that are going to battle it out for third base. Christensen is a transfer from Minnesota, and Olivia Miller has been with the program for a couple of years and has a lot of potential to play a couple of positions.”
Filling out the roster are juniors Lexie Miranda (C/OF), Tara Kunkel (U), Christine Daley (P/U), Morgan Knoblauch (OF) and Ella Voss (OF) and senior Nicole Yaklich (U).
“Without being able to go outside, about all we can do is hit. Clearly, that doesn’t make up for being outside and seeing a little bit of live pitching. So, we’re really going to focus on hitting the next couple of weeks,” Prokup said.
There is a real possibility the Bruins’ first games of the season will be played in Nashville, where the Lady Bruins make their annual spring trip on March 28-30.
“Unless the weather turns, my guess is that those will be our first games this season,” Prokup said. “The abbot (former coach Phillip Davey) started the tradition about five years ago. We’re going to go down to Nashville and play Thursday and Saturday before the Easter break. Last year, we won three games down there and lost two close ones. You’d like to have a couple of games in before you go down there and play 3A and 4A schools.”
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