Jayettes softball head coach Tina Lutterman is expecting some big things from the team this season. Maybe not in the way most coaches are, but there’s a bigger picture in mind with a young roster on the field this year looking to build on last season’s 10-22 finish.
“This is the year that we’re going to grow a lot this season,” Lutterman said. “At the end of the season, we won’t be the same team that we are now and we’re going to have to take our lumps until we figure out how it’s going to go. And I’m okay with that as long as we’re putting in the effort and we’re trying.”
With 16 players on the roster this season, the majority have at least three seasons of eligibility remaining. Only three seniors and two juniors are on the lineup this year, making 2019 a trial run for the team down the road.
“Our seniors are focused but I think there are some younger players too that are really pushing themselves and stretching themselves,” Lutterman added. “Taking risks at practice, trying to get better that can be seen as leaders. Some might not be as vocal as the older girls but they’re doing work.”
Senior Gabby West is one of those seniors the team will lean on this year. She returns as the team’s leading hitter after logging 26 hits, 19 RBIs, and returns as the only home run hitter this year. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, eighth-grader Lydia Olejniczak is expected to add some more power to the lineup after impressing throughout practice coming into the season.
Lutterman said there’s more work to be done at the plate but knows it’s just a matter of time before they a “breakthrough” to open up more possibilities down the road.
As for on the mound, she said the duty will be mostly shared between freshmen Jayna Kenney and Peyton Tunink, noting it’s going to be a more balanced split than years past.
Kenney took in 18 innings as an eighth-grader last season behind Alyssa Kruger’s 167 innings. Tunink was further behind at 7 innings as a closer good for two saves. The two had an equal share of walks at eight apiece.
“My only request is they eliminate the walks and they put the ball where I’m asking them to where they throw the pitches they’re asked to throw,” Lutterman said.
With the young pitching in mind, Lutterman said she’s most confident in the team’s ability in the field that has some “really bright spots.”