on March 29, 2018 6:02 PM
CUTLERVILLE – On paper, South Christian’s softball team appears to have the talent to challenge Wayland Union for the OK Gold Conference championship this spring.
The Sailors gave the Wildcats – who have won 13 consecutive conference championships – a loss in OK Gold play one year ago, and are looking to take the next step with an experienced team returning this spring.
How it plays out on the field could be decided early on as the two teams meet for an early-season conference showdown in mid-April.
Ten players return for South Christian coach Tara Schreur, including standouts in the circle and behind the plate.
“We have seven seniors back this year with 10 total returners,” Schreur said. “We should be experienced in varsity softball.
“Another strength for us is that we hit the ball well. This team has some power hitters that can drive in runs.”
The Sailors return an experienced battery of Hannah Wohlfert and Lauren Teitsma. Both are four-year starters at South Christian.
“They both are great leaders on the diamond and know the game well,” Schreur said. “They encourage their teammates, work hard, and give 100 percent each day.
“Both can hit the ball hard. Lauren has a great throw down and arm, while Hannah plays a huge role pitching and playing third base for our team.”
Also back is hard-throwing junior Kendra Kuiper, who is the team’s shortstop when she is not in the circle.
“Kendra is a returning junior who throws some heat off the mound,” Schreur said. “She knows the game well and also has a terrific arm from short. She can play anywhere I put her.
“She is currently on the injured list from a stress fracture that happened during basketball season. We hope to get her back sometime after Spring Break.”
First baseman Maddy Baar returns after leading the team with extra-base hits one year ago, while hitting a robust .487.
Also returning are infielders Annie Schreur, Dionna Brummel, and Esther VanderMey, and outfielders Bethany Lanning, Olivia Brink, and Ella Koster.
South Christian begins OK Gold Conference play with a series against Wyoming, before playing perennial league champion Wayland Union in an April 18 doubleheader.
“Time will tell how strong this team can be,” Tara Schreur said. “We open up the season with Wyoming for league play, and then play Wayland right away in April. Both are good programs and we hope to compete in every game we play in.
“I have a dedicated group this year, and they worked hard in the offseason. We hope to be successful and to compete with the top teams in the OK Gold and beyond. We work hard every day in practice and really enjoy playing together as a team.
“I am coaching a fun group of girls.”