Tourtellotte softball season preview

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Tue., Apr. 10, 2012
Julie Szamocki hurls one over home plate. Photo by D. Coffey.
Julie Szamocki hurls one over home plate. Photo by D. Coffey.

Tourtellotte Memorial High School softball coach Brooke Nici expects her pitching staff to be one of the strengths of the 2012 Tiger team. She has four hurlers to choose from: freshman Julie Szamocki, sophomore Halie Poirier, and juniors Ashley Gendreau and Taylor Trudeau. She expects Jes Mason, the sole senior on the team, to be solid behind the plate. But other than that, her lineup is still in flux.

There are big gaps in experience among the 16 players that make up the team. Some players have not played the game before, or haven't played it competitively. It will afford Nici the opportunity to teach the fundamentals of the game - a job she loves. But it also leaves big question marks at some positions.

“The outfield is pretty much completely new,” Nici said. It’s a position she admitted was scary defensively. “It's pretty much trial and error because I'm not sure who will be the best where,” the coach added.

Some of her young players made a lot of improvements from last year, but she has yet to see how those improvements will translate into game situations. Sophomore Lizz Coty will play second, Halie Poirier will play third, and Taylor Trudeau will probably play short stop.

Nici will look for team leadership from Mason and Gendreau. “They are doing a good job,” said Nici. “They know their roles. They know what I expect. They've been trying to push the girls to realize we want everyone on the same level. We don't want big gaps in our abilities.”

Tiger bats should be strong at the top of the order, according to Nici. The bottom of the lineup has been productive in practices, but players haven't faced consistently strong pitching yet. “If they can continue to hit ground balls and move players around the bases, I'll be happy,” she said.

There are some situations she hasn't been able to cover with her newest players yet, so the focus will be on learning from every game. “I have a lot to teach this year,” Nici said.

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