Just a sophomore, Wilhem showing moxie for Nordonia softball

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Nordonia Knights

You would never know that Laney Wilhelm is only a sophomore when she is on the mound for the Nordonia softball team.

“This is Laney’s first high school season because last year was cancelled due to the pandemic. She’s acclimating herself to the high school level very well,” Knights head coach Marissa Rizzo said. “She’s definitely a leader just by the way she carries herself. She’s strong on the mound, has really good speed and command of her pitches. She has a lot of confidence coming from her, is very levelheaded all the time and doesn’t let anything get the best of her. She’s always focused when she’s out there.

“Laney is a very smart girl when she’s playing and in school also. She knows what she wants. Even if she has a bad at-bat, she goes out there and does her thing.”

Wilhelm’s finest performance on the mound last week was on Saturday when she allowed just four hits, struck out seven batters and walked four during a 9-1 home win over Warren Howland, which improved Nordonia’s overall record to 3-7. At the plate, Wilhelm had a double, an RBI and a run scored.

Wilhelm also a had a good pitching outing April 7 in a 10-6 victory, also at home, over Suburban League National Conference rival Stow-Munroe Falls that improved her team’s conference mark to 1-3. She went the final three innings while fanning five hitters and walking just one. She was even better at the plate, coming only a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. She had two singles, a double and a triple and scored four times.

Nordonia began the week April 5 with a 9-2 loss at National Conference rival Hudson. Wilhelm allowed 11 hits while striking out three hitters and walking three. At the plate, she singled.

On April 8, Wilhelm pitched the last 3 2/3 innings of a 9-3 defeat at league crossover rival Highland. She yielded five hits and whiffed eight batters. At the pate, she drew a walk.

In the only game she did not pitch in, on April 9, Wilhelm went hitless at the plate as her team’s designated hitter in a 17-0 loss at home to league crossover rival Aurora.

Wilhelm put is some serious work on the mound last week, pitching 20 innings.

“Laney had 23 strikeouts total,” said Rizzo. “She was strong out there. She had a good week for being a young pitcher. She’s also one of our strongest hitters, batting in the three hole. She had some really great at-bats and hard hits.”

Rizzo was excited about Wilhelm’s prospects coming into the season. She is even more excited about her future.

“Laney is always trying to get better and improve herself as much as she can,” she said.