Last updated: April 04. 2014 7:49PM - 68 Views
JON KLEINKNECHT jkleinknecht@civitasmedia.com

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The Lady Tigers return seven letter winners from the 2013 squad that posted a 9-12 record, an improvement of four wins over the previous season.

The returning veterans are: seniors Calli Bauer, a three-year letter winner who pitches and plays infield; pitcher-catcher Maddy Garverick; catcher Tori Kirian; outfielder Olivia Tanner; infielder Shawntel McIe; utility player Shelbie Schramek; and pinch-runner Alex Gates.

Top prospects are senior firstbaseman Jacie Ehrman who was out last season with a broken arm, and junior pitcher-infielder Julie Noonan.

Second-year head coach Jena Opperman said, “There are high hopes for this group of girls. We want to prove that Galion is a team that can’t be looked over. We want to be known as a team that will just not go away. We are going to fight with everything we have each day that we practice and play.”

She continued, “This group of girls has been working hard in the off-season. These girls believe in one another and they know if they come together, they will go far.”

What does Opperman consider to be strengths of her squads?

“The strength is becoming a team and not individuals on the field,” she responded. “The girls want to play for one another and they continue to work hard every day. Returning lettermen helps, and it also helps the girls are buying into our coaching philosophy.”

How about areas of concern?

“As stated, we have a lot of returning letter winners, but we do have a brand new look as a team and we have made changes to put us in a better spot to win. Some of the girls are going to play in positions where they have some experience in, butit’s all for what is best for the team as a whole.”

What are her thoughts about the always competitive North Central Conference?

“The NCC is known for good softball,” she stated. “Teams can sneak up on you. You can win one day against a team, and the next day, you could lose to the same team you just beat. For Galion, we have to respect all, but fear no one. Our girls just need to play our game. I believe we will be able to hold our own throughout the season.”

In referring to her coaching staff, Opperman noted, “This is my second year as head coach and I am trying to learn from my mistakes and build a good program. My varsity assistant, Tom Weithman, and I are very excited to get the season started, and we want to push our players to new levels. We have a new JV (junior varsity) coach, Kenneth Fagan. He is a graduate from Buckeye Central where he played baseball. He has been around baseball and softball his whole life and I think he will be a great addition to our coaching staff. Fagan brings a new look to our program.”

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