Woodward-Granger baseball, softball kick off new seasons

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Woodward-Granger's Lauren Rodgers bunts during a home tournament on Saturday, June 12.

Softball

After losing just one senior from last year's team, the window of opportunity is only opening with each passing season for the Hawks.

If you believe in curses, then the Hawks are destined to win six games this year. It's been a simple pattern stretching back to 2018 when they went 6-28. Since then, the Hawks' win totals have gone 7, 6 and 7. So can the curse be broken this year? 

While this roster is largely the same one that went 7-24 overall and 4-16 last season, the Hawks come back as the most experienced team in the WCAC. Now it's time to see how much they progressed as a unit.

A staple on the team for the past four year, Chloe Houge returns for her fifth varsity season after grabbing a team-high 39 total bases and 12 steals in 2021. She also ranked second with 20 runs scored and another 10 runs driven in. 

Just behind her, Lauren Rodgers emerged as a prime contributor with 35 total bases and 21 runs scored as an eighth-grader. Another incoming freshman, NataLeigh Herron led the team with a .453 slugging percentage in addition to being the team's go-to pitcher. They were the only Hawks along with Rian Jamison to record at least five extra-base hits. All eyes are on Rodgers and Herron to make that second-year jump.

And the new contributions just kept piling up last year. A sophomore, Allie Moore's .402 on-base percentage only trailed Houge. Georgia Simmons made a big impact as a freshman, driving in 11 runs. With a spread of contributions, it's only a question of how much this year-older roster can go this year.

Brody Nardini at the plate for the Hawks during a home game in 2021.

Baseball

Compared to the softball team, the Hawks have to replace triple the production, losing three key contributors to graduation.

An all-conference selection, Colby Tague's team-leading 36 total bases and 20 RBI from last season are gone. A three-year starter, Worth Henry was a leader in a number of batting, base running and pitching categories. And after taking on a larger starting role in 2021, Christian Husmann leaves behind a trail of dust that produced 31 total bases and 24 steals.

Now a window opens up for Brody Nardini to come in with even more heat as a junior. Batting .309 last year, Nardini is the only Hawk from last year's team that had more than 30 total bases. But his supporting cast isn't all that far behind, with Nick Rees (26), Collin Nardini (23) and Tanner Ramsey (21) all giving good looks throughout the season.  

Staying in the bloodline, Collin Nardini also takes center stage as the team's returning ace. He went 6-0 in six starts last season and recorded two saves as a sophomore. While his K-count was behind Henry's, Nardini's ability as a contact pitcher made him one of the most effective in the whole state given his 1.12 ERA and .89 WHIP.