West Geauga enters the 2023 season with seven returning starters and a new head coach, who hopes to see his program continue to develop.
The Wolverines closed out their 2022 campaign with a 6-10 record overall and a 4-6 mark in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“We expect to compete in all our games and improve as the season goes on,” said West Geauga coach Mark Percassi. “Our returners have done a tremendous job adapting to a new coach and have embraced the process and challenges we’ve posed to them. Our newcomers have added a strong energy to the program, and they all are eager to contribute and fit in.”
The Wolverines are sure to face some adversity as they settle into a new way of approaching the game and developing the team bond that will lead to future success.
“The biggest challenges we face is simply being a new team playing together, learning how to constantly communicate with each other, and working together to be in unison defensively,” Percassi said. “We work each day in team periods on communication both pre and post-pitch. This will certainly help get us to become a cohesive team.”
Percassi will lean on his three seniors to set the tone for the rest of the squad.
All three seniors were All-CVC performers last spring.
Shortstop Shea Malone, a Bucknell commitment, was a first-team selection, second baseman Julia Clark was named second-team All-CVC, and pitcher/center fielder Haley Ottman was an honorable mention selection.
“Shea Malone is an All-Ohio caliber player who is focused and driven to be the best,” Percassi said. “Julia Clark is fast and aggressive both on the bases and defensively. She loves getting dirty and diving for balls. We need her on the bases so she can have some fun. Haley Ottman is a tremendous team player, willing to be our lead pitcher and anchor our outfield when not pitching. She has a ton of experience and is a very good athlete. She will be fun to watch as well. All three of them are the type of players that you literally have to kick out of the gym or field. They love practicing.”
Ottman will anchor the West G pitching rotation and play center field when she’s not in the circle. Sophomore Shaylynn Rogaski and freshman Lely Percassi will provide pitching depth.
Rounding out the West Geauga projected starting lineup are sophomore Michaela Platt behind the dish, freshman Morgan Atwara and junior Hannah Williams competing for time at first base, sophomore Cara Day will play third, Rosaski will play left field, and Percassi will play in right field.
Junior Elena Rodriguez and freshman Mallory Lear will provide depth.
“Our success will be based upon the continued strong leadership of our seniors, our returning players committing themselves to better themselves constantly, and our newcomers being embraced by their teammates as they continue to earn trust,” Coach Percassi said.