Youth dominates lineup for Woodridge softball
Because of his team’s youth, 33rd-year Woodridge head softball coach Dan Schneider admitted it will be an uphill battle this season but believes the Bulldogs can win more games than they lose.
“Some of these kids have played together on summer teams or in the same organization,” he said. “Even though they’re younger, they have lots of softball experience. I think that our team goal is to be competitive in our first year in the Metro Athletic Conference. A lot of the teams we’re familiar with.”
The outfield will be led by seniors Abby Bergdorf and Bella McBride. McBride will patrol center field.
“Bella has a strong arm and strong bat,” said Schneider. “She’s kind of the general out there. She holds the leadership role on our team, is kind of looked up to by her teammates.
“Abby has a lot of speed. She’s probably the fastest kid on our team.”
The third outfield spot will be shared by freshman Kaiya Becker-Gary and sophomore Lexi Mathis.
“Kaiya has shown a lot of promise,” Schneider said. “She’s another one who is going to help us.”
Pacing the infield will be senior third baseman Alivia Collura.
“Defensively,” said the coach, “Alivia will be strong on the corner. She’s kind of worked her way to that position. She has a strong arm and can more than handle herself over there. Her other position is catcher, but she’d rather play third, which means we’re getting the most out of her. If she needs to go behind the plate, though, she will.”
Junior Emily Dennison will be the second baseman, and freshman Katelyn Dennison, her sister, will man first base.
“Emily covers her position well,” Schneider said. “She has a strong bat, so that’s going to be a bonus. This is her first year as a starter.
“Katelyn is definitely a kid with a lot of power on her bat. She’s a big swinger. She’s earned her spot so far.”
Playing catcher will be junior Alyssa Tiffe.
“Alyssa is steady behind the plate,” said Schneider. “I think she’s going to be consistent. She has a decent arm and she hits for average.”
On the mound will be junior Kendal Gregory and freshman Sarah Rathbun. When one is pitching, the other will be the shortstop.
“Kendal is consistent and gets the job done,” the coach said. “She’s not a flame thrower for sure, but she has good sense. She’s been pitching since she was young.
“We’ve got to get Sarah over the freshman jitters. But she’s also been pitching since she was young, so she’s probably got seven or eight years of pitching under her belt. Once she settles in, she’ll be fine.”
Other team members are senior Morgan La Mancusa, junior Rebecca Leipold and sophomores Addy Porter and Kasai Davis.
The assistant coaches are John Schneider, Kelly Sasavicz and Dan Schneider, Sr.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to open the season at Akron Manchester March 27 at 1 p.m.