Pine-Richland softball focused on adding punch at the plate

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Monday, March 23, 2020 | 8:07 PM


Pine-Richland softball coach Gary Shepard has always emphasized pitching and defense as the core tenets of his philosophy for winning games on the diamond.

However, this season, the Rams coach is tweaking his approach to incorporate more work at the plate in an effort to increase his team’s scoring output.

“We graduated a number of girls last year that could hit the ball, and we didn’t perform very well in that aspect of the game to begin with last season,” Shepard said.

“So, this season, I want to make sure the girls get up to the plate with the right approach. We’re not going to have any 10-plus home run hitters on this team, but we can make solid contact and advance runners from base to base and try to manufacture our runs that way so that we can win some ballgames with our bats.”

Shortstop Joslyn Hostetler figures to be a key component of the Rams potential success at the plate, as she returns to the squad for her senior season after accumulating the second-most hits on the roster last year.

Another senior, Alyssa Miller, will also be an integral part of the Pine-Richland lineup and will slot into the starting spot in center field.

“Those two are talented, and we also have a catcher that we like in Alexia Brown. Now, she’s only a sophomore but she gained a good amount of experience at the varsity level last year as a freshman,” Shepard said.

“We’re going to count on her to bring along a few new pitchers that we have this year, but she’s also going to be counted upon to hit at the plate. With her, and Hostetler at shortstop, and Miller in center, we’re strong up the middle of the field. That’s one thing that I’m happy about and that I always like to see.”

Leah Hartzberg, Ella Kasperowicz and Anna Heckman will look to provide the Pine-Richland lineup with additional pop. Natalie Zentz, Olivia Stauffer, Maddie Jewart and Caity Corcoran will compete for at-bats as well.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Shepard says he expects to field somewhat of a rotation for the time being, with work being split between newcomers Anna McKenna, Harley Aguglia and Ruby McCune.

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