SPRING VALLEY — Hall coach Pete Kasperski always had old reliable Johnna Schultz to fall back on the last few softball seasons, both pitching and at the plate.
Schultz, the 2012 BCR Player of the Year, who won all 13 games for Hall a year ago with a 1.86 ERA and batted .418, has moved onto IVCC and Kasperski is looking for new people to step up.
“It’s going to be a transition not having Johnna Schultz around. We’re not only losing Johnna on the mound, but lost her bat, also. That’s going to be the key,” Kasperski said.
Senior Stephanie Stocking is going to have to carry the pitching load, Kasperski said. While she got in 26 innings of work last year, Kasperski admits it’s going be an unknown.
The Lady Devils also have sophomore Kylie Whightsil, who broke her ankle two weeks into her freshman year, and freshmen Heide Nelson, Adrianna Pikula and Lucianna Mautino waiting in the wings.
Hall brings back three players Kasperski says will have “to be our mainstays — juniors Brenna Faletti, Becca Herrmann and Deidra Whightsil.
The slap-hitting Faletti has already shown star power, batting .545 a year ago as the table-setter for the Hall offense. She is coming of a severe knee injury in basketball and hopeful to get back to form.
Becca Herrmann (.288, 19 RBIs) returns for her third season behind the plate catching while Diedra Whightsil will be moving from left field to center and will be batting leadoff.
Sophomore Ellie Herrmann (.263) also returns for her second season on the big club, taking over at third base. Classmate Abby Azarskis (.341, 4 homers, 34 RBIs) exploded onto the varsity season her freshman year with some early-season power before going into what Kasperski called some kind of funk.
Junior Kaylee Golden will see time at second base with senior Becca Dagraedt stepping in at left field and senior newcomer Ally Carlson sharing time in right field with Nielsen. Other sophomores who could see time with the varsity include Hailey Goetz, Adrianna Hawton and Shelbi Justi.
“We’re going to be like anybody, looking to get some games in and get our feet wet,” Kasperski said. “We want to get the girls ready for when the weather get nice and be ready for regional play. We want to be competitive. We’ll have to put the ball in play. We can’t rely on our pitching like we did with Johnna, so were going to able play good defense and put ball in play and score more runs.”
Notes: While Wednesday’s varsity game with Erie/Prophetstown was canceled, Hall remained hopeful to play at home Thursday vs. Newark. ... Kasperski said he will lose seven girls to the French Club’s trip, who leave Thursday and will be out until the middle of next week.