The 2019 season started just a couple weeks ago, but the Hawks are getting a second start.
After starting the season 0-10, second-year head coach Owen Hunter tendered his resignation from the program for personal matters on Sunday, June 2, effectively pressing the reset button for the Hawks moving forward with assistant coach Jessica Wyant as the team’s new leader the following day.
“We had a player meeting and a parent meeting just to kind of address it. And we really focused on not dwelling in the past,” Wyant said Monday.
She added that the team’s lineup construction was largely Hunter’s decision, so moving forward, Wyant will have control over the roster rotation. In her second year on the coaching staff, she said she has a good idea of what to expect from her players.
“It’s been pretty easy for me to figure out a lineup and who works well within certain positions,” Wyant said of her newly adopted team, one that is still green behind its ears.
The roster is largely comprised of underclassmen. In total, there are five eighth graders, six freshmen, and seven sophomores. Less than 30 percent of the team are juniors or seniors. But one upperclassman the team is leaning on is junior Maddi Danti, who was named a team captain at the start of the month.
At .338, she returns with the team’s third-highest batting average while freshmen Chloe Houge and Emma Anderson bring the top on-base percentages. Anderson is also the Hawks’ resident thief after stealing 14 bases last year.
Before leaving the program, Hunter said he felt the team was in a better position and more “energetic” than the prior season going 4-30. Wyant said she sees a similar enthusiasm with the team.
“We’ve kind of been stumped before and ending our games early but they really stay up and they know when to stay up and lately I’ve been really happy with some of their comebacks after getting down,” Wyant said. “They don’t just kind of sit then let it happen. They kind of make an effort to come back and plug away at their deficit.”
Wyant added that with the available talent ranging from Danti to Anderson and more, she can see more being pulled out of the team down the road, naming the team’s determination as a centralizing attribute.
Ultimately, Wyant said it’s hard for the team to cycle through coaches with such frequency.
“It’s trickier when you don’t have that consistent coach and don’t have that feeling that somebody really cares for you and your softball career,” Wyant said, adding that this is a process beyond fixing some kinks in the lineup but completely readjusting the culture. That starts at the top.