For the Gardner-South Wilmington softball team, the task this spring is a simple one. Not easy, but simple.
Make school history again this season – following up or matching the 20-win season, which included and Elite Eight berth in the postseason.
“The the biggest challenge for this year’s team is to meet expectations,” GSW coach Jon Posing said. “With seven returning starters back from last year’s elite eight berth, people expect this team to repeat.”
Which means that there is little sneaking up on opposing teams this time around.
“We need to realize that we won’t surprise anyone this year,” Posing said. “Our opponents will be gearing up to play us. Every game will be tough, and we will need to work even harder than last year. It’s great to be successful, but we want to continue the success and that requires hard work and dedication.”
The seven returning starters back from last year are: senior left fielder Ally Matthews, junior center fielder Lexi Posing, sophomore right fielder Emily Hopwood, junior shortstop Sophie Barna, senior second baseman Paige Lardi, junior pitcher Emily Foley and sophomore catcher Maranda Residori.
“That’s a pretty good nucleus to work with,” coach Posing said. “But finding people to replace our losses in second-team all-state first baseman Becca Bernardy and third baseman/pitcher Abby Horrie will be easier said than done.”
Two other players, sophomore Mady Patten and outfielder Makayla Residori, also return from last year.
“Abby and Becca are just two players gone from our team, but they were our three hitter and cleanup hitters,” Posing said. “Not only that, but they were definitely our leaders last year. That is a huge hole in our lineup that must somehow be filled by the remaining seven starters. Everyone has to step up at the plate to replace their production. It’s not an easy task, but I think they can do it.”
Newcomers to the team this spring are sophomore third basman/catcher Kylie King and freshmen Carly Bernardy, Kira Gleason, Sydney Perkins and Jenny Price.
Juniors Julie Chambers and Taylor Speed “also add quality depth” Posing said.
“I know one thing. This group of girls will do everything possible to win,” Posing said. “They are a very tough group of ladies and they don’t like to lose.”