Geneva looks to finish strong

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Geneva Softball

Geneva’s softball team has the talent to compete for a league title and make a postseason run this spring.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, injuries have plagued the team in the preseason. That could slow them down out of the gate, but the Eagles have their eyes on making a run down the stretch.

“This is going to be a very exciting season for us,” said Geneva coach Eleshia Pitcher. “Even though we start the season plagued with injuries, I have a lot of hard-working, determined athletes this season who plan to go far. These girls have stepped up in the offseason and improved tons.”

Geneva returns five starters and seven lettermen from last year’s team that finished 11-11 overall.

The group includes the solid core of Megan Pitcher, Elana Logan, Brittany Podluzne and Rachel Scibona.

Pitcher, a junior first baseman, batted .436 with a .591 on-base percentage last season in earning second team All-Chagrin Valley Conference and first team All-Ashtabula County honors.

An exceptional fielder who has committed just four errors in two seasons, Pitcher won the team’s Golden Glove award in 2016 and 2017 and also recorded the highest batting average last spring. Pitcher also will spend time behind the dish.

“Megan has been one the team’s leading hitters,” Coach Pitcher said. “She will spend most her time at first base where there isn’t much she does not scoop out of the dirt or pull from the air.”

Logan, a three-year letterman who has signed with Lakeland Community College to play both softball and soccer, returns at shortstop where she posted a .841 fielding percentage and batted .292. She also will see time in the outfield as needed.

“(Logan) is by far one of the most underrated players I have ever coached,” Pitcher said. “You will see Elana spend most of her time at shortstop this year where she fields just about everything hit to the left side. She is one of the hardest working, most determined players I have ever coached.”

Podluzne, a junior pitcher and third baseman, earned second team All-CVC and second team All-Ashtabula County honors last spring after batting .333 and finishing with a 2.75 earned run average with 49 strikeouts to just 10 walks.

She allowed just 1.83 earned runs per game in 2016.

“Brittany has been a staple on our mound for the past two seasons,” Pitcher said. “When not on the mound, you will find her on the hot corner at third base where there isn’t much she can’t knock down. Along with her talent on the field, Brittany also brings great leadership to the team.”

Scibona, a junior who earned second team all-conference honors, will pitch and play first.

Geneva also added talented freshman Kalee Grimmett to the roster. Grimmett will spend most of her time behind the plate.

Sophomore Savannah Hurst will move from right field to second base this season and Jessica Guggenbiller, Kara Hutchinson and Morgan Scibona are projected to play in the outfield. Sophomore Kayla Lindberg, an honorable mention all-conference performer last spring, will pitch and play third.

“We have a very strong group of returning lettermen this year along with that we add Kalee Grimmett, a freshman catcher/third baseman, who we are very excited to add to our lineup,” Pitcher said. “We are also very fortunate to add Nicole Grimmett to our coaching staff this year, who has made a huge difference in our program. Nicole played here at Geneva then went on to play for Lake Erie College.”

While the Eagles are focused and have enough experience to make some noise in the conference and postseason, staying healthy is going to be more important than ever considering the preseason injuries the team has suffered.

“We have all the pieces to go far but need to be healthy to accomplish that,” Pitcher said.

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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.