With small roster, Quaker Valley softball to rely on versatility

Sunday, March 28, 2021 | 10:01 AM

The Quaker Valley softball team will be young in 2021, but the Quakers aren’t going to let that stop them from building something special for the future.

With just one senior and 11 total players, the Quakers will lack some senior leadership and depth, but coach Nicole Olson is looking to make the best of it this season.

“It’s going to be a challenging year for us to rebuild, and we don’t have the benefit of having that upperclassmen strength as much,” Olson said. “It will definitely be a year of rebuilding, but we are looking forward to it. It’s a great group of girls, they have really great attitudes, and I think we are all just looking forward to being back out on the field.”

Junior Izzy DeGori will be one player who will anchor the lineup. After a solid freshman season in 2019, she’ll be the starting shortstop, and Olson is expecting a lot out of her, both at the plate and in the field.

“We’re looking to seeing a big season from her and we’re really looking forward to seeing her progress after missing her sophomore season,” Olson said. “She had a really strong freshman year at the plate and in the field, so I’m really looking forward to seeing as she gets older and matures, how her leadership steps up.”

Mikayla Sallese also was a freshman on Quaker Valley’s team two years ago when the Quakers finished 6-10. She has has played first base, third base, catcher and shortstop.

Olson was also set to have a talented class of freshmen last season, and most of them are returning. The Quakers are also bringing in a few freshmen who will have an impact, including Annica Kagle.

“She’ll be one of our main pitchers and she’s a really great athlete, really great teammate, and she leads by example,” Olson said.

Kagle will split time in the circle with sophomore Juliette Vybiral.

“Pitching hasn’t always been their starting position in terms of history, which is why I say we’ll be splitting time a good amount,” Olson said. “I think we’ll have to rebuild our pitching over the next few years, but it seems like a challenge the girls are looking to take on.”

With a small roster and a lack of experience, the Quakers will look to develop this season. Having small numbers should help their case as they get at-bats and experience on the field.

“Our sophomores didn’t really get to see a lot of varsity action last year with the season being canceled so this year will definitely be a learning experience for everyone to adjust to,” Olson said. “But we have some really hard workers, and if we can all maintain being healthy and keeping our shoulders strong and avoiding injuries then everyone will definitely see some growth this year.”

Versatility is something the Quakers will rely on. Players will play multiple positions and “build up their softball” resumes as the Quakers look to improve.

“With such a small roster, players might be thrown into a position that isn’t their top one or top two,” Olson said. “We want to make sure these girls have those fundamentals and knowledge of the game and know where they need to be no matter what position they are at.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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