A two-year offseason leaves area baseball and softball coaches with more questions than answers but Berkshire’s Dave List is confident his squad has the potential for its share of success this season.
The Badgers return five starters from 2019 when the team finished 8-15 overall and 6-6 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“I expect to be very competitive,” List said. “There is a ton of talent on this roster, but our schedule is very tough. Having six returning letter winners helps.”
Berkshire’s roster is relatively young, which provides List with some difficult decisions to make as he formulates a lineup and pitching rotation.
“The biggest challenge is to determine which members of a very talented sophomore class are ready for varsity competition,” he said. “We have very talented seniors and juniors as well and we will have to decide where to put players to maximize team success.”
Seniors Emily Seamon, Becca Hauser, Courtney Czekaj, and Mollee Chapman provide the Badgers with a solid foundation of experience and leadership.
Seamon is the team’s catcher and one of the top hitters on the squad.
“Her work ethic is incredible,” List said. “She has shown tremendous leadership and dedication. She is our starting catcher and will hit in key spots at the top and middle of the lineup.”
Hauser is slotted to start at first base, Czekaj returns at second and Chapman has the hot corner locked down after hitting .355 with one home run and 21 RBI as a sophomore. Czekaj batted .320 two seasons ago.
“Becca is another excellent team leader,” List said. “(Chapman) is a great athlete and senior leader. She has the ability to hit for power. (Czekaj) played travel in the offseason. She is quietly becoming a very good softball player.”
Junior Kylie Neumore returns at shortstop and classmate Angie Romano will play right field when she isn’t pitching.
Neumore hit .328 as a freshman two seasons ago.
“(Neumore) is a tremendous hitter and athlete. She makes every play look easy,” List said. “(Romano) will play outfield mostly when not pitching. She has a positive attitude and worked very hard with strength and condition in the offseason.”
Sophomores Maddie Triskett and Sierra Berman are projected to start in left and center field, respectively.
Providing depth for the Badgers is a sophomore class filled with talent.
Cam Leggett is expected to start in the circle and Berman and Triskett also have earned starting nods. Anni Bergmeier and Athena Stute are pushing the starters and Katelyn Kenny, Emma Bock, Faith Aldridge, and Julia Surace also will see varsity playing time.
“We have some really good athletes and I feel our defense is a strength,” List said. “Our hitting is solid and hopefully we will get good production out of the bottom of the order to take the pressure off the top and middle of the order.”
One of List’s top concerns entering the 2021 season is his pitching rotation but that isn’t due to a lack of talent.
The Badgers have plenty of arms but only one has varsity pitching experience.
“We have a good number of talented pitchers in our program, but only Angie Romano has any varsity experience,” List said. “I wouldn’t call pitching a weakness due to the talent level, but lack of pitching experience could be a weakness at times, especially against some of the powerhouse teams on our schedule.”