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    Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin opens the 2024 season with six returning starters, but the Lions went from a team led by seniors to one that will rely on a host of underclassmen to set the tone.

    The Lions finished 14-5 last season and won a second straight sectional title.

    “We are a completely different team this year,” said NDCL coach Tiger Alexander. “Last year, we relied on the experience of our seniors to lead the way. This year, we are leaning heavily on our underclassmen, especially with the injuries some returning starters have sustained. We have depth and versatility in our roster again this year. This will allow us to rotate as needed without losing skill at any position on the field. As a team, we really focus on controlling the controllables. That starts with competing in the classroom and it carries over to competing on the field. This year we will be led on the field by our four-year varsity starters Celia Anthony and Alex Tanner, our three-year varsity starters Lexie Simon and Lucy Joyce, and our two-year varsity starters Alex Mould and Maya Rowan.”

    Even with more underclassmen on the roster this spring, the Lions haven’t changed their goals or their expectations.

    “Our goals don’t really change from year to year,” Alexander said. “We always want to put ourselves in the best position possible to compete at the highest level. We have a very young team as we start the season due to injuries during the offseason and preseason/scrimmages. That said, we pride ourselves on the depth we have and the flexibility of our student-athletes to play multiple positions.”

    Anthony returns to patrol center field or right field while Tanner will catch, play first, and serve as the team’s designated player at times. Anthony was a second-team Crown Conference honoree last spring and also played in the Ohio Varsity Underclassmen Showcase.

    Simon, who was a first-team All-Crown Conference selection after hitting .509 with three doubles, a triple, one home run, and 14 runs batted in, can play any of the three outfield positions and Joyce will play second, short, third, or in the outfield.

    Rowan will play second or shortstop and provide depth behind the dish, and Mould will pitch or play the outfield.

    Mould was named the Crown Conference Pitcher of the Year and the Ohio Varsity Freshman of the Year after recording a 2.17 earned run average with 116 strikeouts last season. Rowan was an honorable mention all-conference performer and was selected to participate as a catcher in the 2024 USA Softball HPP National Selection event.

    Junior Lila Baeslach will play third, and freshmen Lily Rader, Rebecca Wooke, and Isabella Wooke also will compete for a starting role. Rader will pitch and play short, while Rebecca Wooke will play left or right field or shortstop, and Isabella Wooke can play first or in the outfield.

    Senior Giavanna Beatrice (outfield), junior Kelly Shaughnessy (outfield), and sophomore Annaliese Racic (pitcher/outfield) will provide depth.

    Mould, Rader, and Racic all will pitch at some point this spring.

    “Our team’s strengths again this year are versatility and depth,” Alexander said. “This is evident with our current situation with injuries. It shows how every player on the team has the knowledge and ability to play multiple positions on the field. This has already proven to be an asset even before the season has started. In the preseason, our players have been taking the time to create the right habits when it comes to the classroom and on the field, which are our program expectations and standards. They are competing daily with each other to do better and be better student-athletes.”

    If the Lions can stay healthy, and that’s a tall order considering their current situation, they should be in a position to compete for the Crown Conference title and another postseason run.

    “We currently have three starting players out with injuries,” Alexander said. “They are all slated to make it back to the field sometime during the season. Because of that, the make-up of our team will be changing throughout the season. I’m sure we will be faced with other challenges along the course of the season as well. Whatever those challenges end up being, we will identify the teachable moments, develop a plan, make the necessary adjustments, and strive to continue competing at a high level.”

     

     

     

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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