From Grosse Ile, Michigan, Gold Medal winner Abby King has been playing soccer for as long as she can remember.
Fastpitch Softball - Varsity
Varsity Season Record: 7-6
Captains: Kristina Kaszei ’16 and Rachel Morris ’16
Athletic Awards: Most Valuable Player: Laura Eldon ’18; Most Improved Player: Brooke Hovan ’17 and Kristina Kaszei ’16; Coaches Award: Makena Hayes ’17
After a few tough seasons, the 2016 WRA girls softball team worked hard to turn that around this year. “Two years ago we were on the other end of those scores,” Coach Will Newman said about the high scoring games this season. “It’s absolutely incredible to come so far this year.”
It was a slow start, losing the first four games of the season, but as the girls worked through their kinks, they found the sweet spot, winning the next seven out of 10 games. Giving them a run for their money, Laurel School provided some tough competition, but WRA pulled out all the stops, winning 16-10 on their home field. The girls played a few great games against Open Door Christian School, with a walk-off win in their first game and in their second matchup, starting the game with three home runs over the fence and finishing with a score of 25-2.
“The girls are wonderful. This year, they just clicked. They were fun but really serious about the game. It was a fun year,” Newman said of his team.
While moving a few players around, Newman was surprised by a player that had originally been playing outfield. “Something just clicked. We had played Brooke [Hovan ’17] at second base during practice and it was such a wonderful surprise to find her strength in second base,” said Newman, recalling Hovan’s two solo double plays this season. Hovan was named Most Improved Player after quite a season at second base.
Newcomer Laura Eldon ’18 started as catcher for the Pioneers and was one of the stronger players on the squad. “Her arm is incredible, even the baseball coaches were jealous,” said Newman. “She’s going to be important to our team next year.” Excelling at just about any position on the field, Newman is excited to see her as a frontrunner in 2017.
Although not hitting home runs or catching fly balls, Kelsey McCracken ’16, manager of the team for the last three seasons, helped the games go off without a hitch. She found a software program that automated the stats process, making the process that once took hours, take just minutes, allowing more time for Newman to work with the team. Because of her dedication and loyalty over the last three season, McCracken was awarded a letter during the 2016 spring Athletic Awards ceremony.
Newman is looking forward to continuing the momentum in 2017. “With the group we’ve got and only losing four seniors, we should be in a pretty good position next year.”
Brooke Hovan and Morgan Waldeck ’17 will serve as captains next season.