Madison returns just three starters from the 2019 season leaving the Blue Streaks relatively young. But, don’t be confused, Madison has the talent to once again compete for the Western Reserve Conference and the district title.
“We are looking for a very successful 2021,” said Madison coach Arthur Rose. “A big challenge ahead for us is finding what way each girl can help us achieve the success we strive for and keeping patient and continue to improve every day.”
The Blue Streaks, who were 12-8 in 2019, have many new faces in the lineup.
“With not playing last year, it’s like having two freshman classes at once,” Rose said. “It has been much harder setting positions with nine new players, especially with the vast majority being outfielders.”
One position Rose hasn’t had to worry about is pitcher, where senior Alyssa Lavdis returns.
Lavdis, a University of Tennessee-Chattanooga signee, was 8-2 with a 1.28 earned run average as a sophomore. She struck out 135 batters in just 71 innings. She also hit .432 with four home runs, 16 runs batted in, and scored 23 runs in 13 games.
“She’s following the long tradition of Madison pitchers to take it to the next level,” Rose said. “She’s one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever coached. She’s fearless, confident, and has an absolute love of the game.”
With senior Halle Blackford back behind the dish, the Blue Streaks have one of the best batteries in all of Northeast Ohio.
Blackford batted .500 as a sophomore with three home runs and 27 RBI. She also recorded a .915 field percentage despite playing out of position.
“One of the best catchers in all of Ohio finally gets to play her position,” Rose said. “Halle is an amazing player with unparalleled knowledge of the game. She’s smart, strong, athletic, and a leader. This girl needs to have a future in coaching.”
Other seniors projected to start include Chloe Wakim and Jenna Kadas.
Wakim is a quiet leader out in center field. She batted .250 as a sophomore. Kadas is an outfielder or first baseman who has a knack for inspiring her teammates.
Junior Tahja Brown will play in the infield and the rest of the Madison lineup is filled with sophomores and freshmen.
Sophomore Emili Blackie is one to watch at shortstop.
“This girl has a very bright future in this game,” Rose said. “She’s a strong, hardworking young player, one of those players you have to tell to go home. This girl lives to work out and perfect her craft…crushing softballs. She is absolutely a rising star in softball.”
Sophomore Lexie Nicholson will play third and classmates Nadia Cruz and Maddy Eberbach are slotted in left and right field, respectively. Sophomore Savannah Watren also will play in the outfield. Nicholson has a strong arm and bat while Cruz is a speedy, hard-working player. Eberbach is a contact hitter.
The freshmen include Savannah Patrone, a first baseman, and Madison Fairbanks, a second baseman.
“Our biggest strength is up the middle with our catcher, pitcher, and centerfielder,” Rose said. “They must set a tone and control the game for us to be successful.”
Madison isn’t short on talent but the Blue Streaks need to gain some valuable experience and the younger girls have to be ready to seize their opportunities.
“To be successful we must continue to improve defensively, learning our responsibilities for the position we play,” Rose said. “Our leaders must lead and players must follow and we must all put team first in everything we do. Coaches and players must have the patience to allow each other to grow into the players we can be.”