Softball team aims to repeat the feat

Despite key losses, a District title is still a goal

The+softball+team+went+on+a+special+run+last+spring%2C+and+Coach+Payne+and+the+players+feel+they+can+duplicate+the+feat+this+year.

Susan Zong

The softball team went on a special run last spring, and Coach Payne and the players feel they can duplicate the feat this year.

Noah D'Angelo, Staff Writer

The girls’ softball team is coming off an impressive 2015 campaign, posting a record of 18-7 that included a District 6 title and an appearance in the PIAA final four. They set marks that will be hard to match.

Although a repeat District championship is quite possible, a final four appearance in the state tournament will be difficult.

Losing stars Anna Wolfe and Jacqueline Finn to graduation last year, Bellwood lost some leadership.

“It’s definitely hard to replace Finn and Wolfe, but we have to try,” said third baseman Edyn Convery. “I know Caroline will do great catching (for Finn) and Krystina will be fine at second (for Wolfe). It’s definitely a loss in the batting order, but we have been working hard to be just as good as last year.”

Some young faces seem hungry to learn and keep the Bellwood Softball tradition alive!”

— Coach Payne

Coach Jim Payne saw the loss of two all-stars as an opportunity for others.

“The best part about players like JFinn and Anna are that they worked with the younger kids as they honed their skills,” said Coach Payne. “Some young faces seem hungry to learn and keep the Bellwood Softball tradition alive!”

B-A is returning six starters, Caroline Showalter (catcher), Laycee Clark (shortstop), Maddie Miller (pitcher/first-baseman), Convery (third baseman), Taylor Shildt (pitcher/first baseman), and Saige McElwain (center-fielder). So there’s no doubt Bellwood still has the firepower, but does it have the confidence and teamwork to pull it all together?

Coach Payne has faith in his team.

“With the solid returning nucleus of athletes we have, we feel very happy about our chances to repeat a district 6 title. The kids are working very hard to return to the level where they finished last year, only this year they want one more game added to their schedule,” he said.

Along with Coach Payne, senior Caroline Showalter believes Bellwood can make a run again this season.

“I believe that we can win districts again this year and make a run in states. We just need to work hard and work together, and we can achieve our goals,” said Showalter.

B-A is returning Taylor Shildt, a .455 batter last season. As a pitcher she had a 1.63 ERA with 12 complete games and four shutouts. Being a senior she wants to have a good last year.

“I think that the momentum we had at the end of last season will carry onto this year and help us complete our goals,” said Shildt.

Every good team has its weaknesses, including Bellwood. The great teams fix these weaknesses.

I think that the momentum we had at the end of last season will carry onto this year.”

— Taylor Shildt

“Overall, as a team, we need to come together and make sure that our defense is solid and our offense is going to continually generate runs for us,” explained Taylor.

Bellwood resumes its’ normal ICC schedule as always. It presents a tough challenge, however, as West Branch and Mount Union are very good teams. The Lady Devils dropped all three to West Branch and both games to Mount Union last year.

After the regular season, Bellwood then faces a daunting triple-A District playoffs. B-A has shown that it is possible to win against this level of competition by rising victorious last season.

“We want to go back-to-back like Drake,” said Caroline.

So all-in-all, the season looks bright for the Bellwood-Antis softball team. With the experience that it has in big games and the will to succeed, the Lady Devils will be hard to stop on their road back to the D-6 title game.

B-A’s first regular season game will take place on March 29 at West Branch.