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JOHNSONBURG â€“ Coming off a banner year in which the Johnsonburg Ramettes tallied eight wins and advanced to the first round of the playoffs, second-year head coach Melissa Myers is looking for even more this time around.
â€śThat was a big step for them and really built up their confidence, and I know the team is looking forward to getting back out there,â€ť coach Myers said as her team last season even pulled off an upset over Curwensville. â€śWeâ€™re a young team but Iâ€™m looking at trying to get more than eight wins out of them.
â€śThose wins were a big step because we hadnâ€™t had eight wins in at least the last three years and getting a first-time playoff game was huge because they were all pumped for that. Weâ€™re looking forward to trying to advance to the playoffs again this year.â€ť
Looking back, one thing that may have held the team back last year in regard to player development was a low turnout.
â€śLast season we didnâ€™t have as many players so we really couldnâ€™t get a junior varsity team, and even though weâ€™re too short to have it this year, weâ€™re able to pull a few games together where I can have some of my varsity players along with some girls that might not have that chance to get in during the game, and play they and theyâ€™ll be able to get playing time too,â€ť coach Myers said. â€śLast year, we had 11 girls and weâ€™re now up to 16.â€ť
Defensively, coach Myers said clutch fielding was a key aspect that kept her team competitive and helped clinch eight victories.
â€śAnd Iâ€™m happy with the defensive signs that we have so far this year,â€ť coach Myers said. â€śWeâ€™ve been indoors a lot with practices and weâ€™ve probably only gone outside four times at the most.
â€śThatâ€™s a challenge but weâ€™ve been looking at our fielding; itâ€™s hard to hit when youâ€™re in a gym but weâ€™re trying to get the basic routine down-- they have to constantly know where the ball is going, who theyâ€™re playing on and how to steal.
â€śA lot of our players have to work on their leadoff and know when to go, just the basic skills and know-how of the game. We have the knowledge with fielding but weâ€™re concentrating on the basic know-hows of the game: stealing, how to trap them in a rundown, things like that.â€ť
Out in the field, coach Myers hopes to have either Taylor Harvey or Cassie Biondi at first base depending on the game situation; Kiana Myers or Elena Solario at second base; Justis Myers at shortstop; Katie Galsick or Kassa Kocjancic at third base; Dani Jo Dwyer catching; Paige DeCecchis as starting pitcher with Kiana Myers as a backup; Tommi Wildnauer in right field; Brittany Watts in centerfield; and Cassie Biondi in left field; coach Myers also has Lydia Hefright, Autumn Yonker, Rachel Maletto, Alicia Biondi and Kiersten Sallack to use in the outfield at her disposal.
At the plate, coach Myers said she hopes her teamâ€™s bats come alive so that they will not have to rely on pitching and defense so much.
â€śWe did OK hitting last year but Iâ€™d like to see us do better,â€ť coach Myers said. â€śJustis Myers came off strong as our top hitter and Paige DeCecchis was not too far behind.
â€śWe have a lot of lettermen coming back as far as the hitting goes and they have the experience, I just hope that it plays out in the games this year.
â€śIâ€™m excited because the players are young and I canâ€™t wait to see what they can do.â€ť