Improvement key for Char-Houston softball
Improvement will be the secret to success for Chartiers-Houston this softball season. And, the Lady Buccaneers began honing their skills this past weekend when they traveled to Myrtle Beach to play three varsity games.
In addition to having the opportunity to practice at The Ripken Experience, the Lady Bucs battled the big schools and great competition said Tricia Alderson, who is in her 21st season of coaching, the past 11 at Char-Houston.
“It’s a great experience for us,” Alderson said. “It gave us an opportunity to get a head start on our season.”
Whatever advantage the Lady Bucs gain will benefit them down the road, because this club lacks experience. Char-Houston lost five starters, including pitching ace Kayla Briggs, from last year’s 19-2 team that advanced to the district semifinals and the state quarterfinals.
“We are inexperienced at many positions,” agreed Alderson. “This is a new season and we are going to go out and do the best we can just like we try to do every season. We are not going to live on years past. We expect to be competitive in the section as long as we keep improving.”
With veterans Haley Sutton, Kassie Kesneck, Megan Kraushaar and Sabrina Stankus anchoring the team, the improvement starts with their leadership. While all played the infield, all demonstrate flexibility, which may or may not be an asset to this year’s club. In addition to playing their regular spots, Sutton and Krauushaar can catch. Kesneck will pitch and play the outfield.
“We have so many different options because we have a lot of players who can play multiple positions. It is both a blessing and a curse,” Alderson said. “We need to just figure out what lineup will be best for the team’s success. That will all work itself out as we go through the season.”
Play in Section 2-A will be challenging for the Lady Bucs. Against McGuffey, Waynesburg, Beth-Center, Bentworth, Fort Cherry and Washington, Char-Houston will be hard pressed to repeat last year’s undefeated, 12-0, section title.
“Our section will be a very tough one with a lot of good pitching,” explained Alderson, who is assisted by her husband, Dan, and Tiffany Gray.
In addition to Sutton, the team will rely also on the senior leadership of Jennifer Lucas and Christine Walsh. Both are outfielders.
Others in the junior class of talent are: Jessica Blumen, Casey Craig, Lisa Hornak and Jaylnn Myers.
Jessica Southern is a sophomore outfielder, while the team boasts four freshmen including Kayla Alderson, a first baseman, outfielders Brittany Blumen and Marcie Kesneck as well as Kayla Elliot, who can play first base or in the outfield.