Ridgway softball ready for new season with mix of youth, experience

Ridgway softball fields a junior-laden team in 2011 looking for more wins. The Lady Elkers softball team had one win in 2010. Coach Gary Gerber II said he has a good mix of youth and experience. “We actually got outside more than in the past, it’s on and off,” Gerber II said. “I have two seniors. We’re looking for some leadership from not only our seniors but we have a big junior class so we’re looking for them to be our leaders. Morgan (Herzing) is coming back for her second year of pitching. We’ve also added two freshman pitchers that will also be contributing. We’re going to have starters from seniors to freshmen, it’s going to be a good mix.”Gerber II said the keys to this season will be having strong pitching and defense. “That’s what every coach probably says for softball,” Gerber II said. “That’s the key to everything, throw strikes and catch it. That’s not going to be any different for us. We have to replace some big shoes from last year. Bekka (Leitzel) from short and Chelsea (Bryndel) from third. We’re going to move Bri (Stenta) from second to short and enter some freshmen into the lineup at third and second. Until you actually see them play, you don’t know how a freshman is going to react. From what we saw in practice so far, they’re working hard, they’re here every day whether they’re pitching, hitting. I’m pleased so far but it’s hard to see until you get out there and get some competition. I think everyone’s itching to get outside. It looks like it might get moved back another week.”Gerber II said the competition for positions has been encouraging and the team is ready to see live games against other teams. “We’ve been scrimmaging ourselves but it’s still different when you’re playing other teams,” Gerber II said. “It’s good competition, everyone’s competing for positions. It seems to be more competitive this year. This year’s a little more open competition which is good for the program, it gets people competing.”Even with just the two seniors, Gerber II said he will be fielding an experienced team since the younger players have been playing since they were freshmen. “A lot of them have been starting since they were freshmen or sophomores,” Gerber II said. “We may only have two seniors but we have players that have been playing for two or three years already. That’s why we try to get our younger ones in.”Bri Stenta and Breezy Mazur are the two seniors on the team this season. Erica Thorwart, Sydney Kovalyak, Samantha Kovalyak, Ashley Viglione, Melissa Wehler, Morgan Herzing, Morgan Rosenhoover and Amanda Aiello are the juniors. Jill Gaio is the lone sophomore on the varsity roster. Jenna Hoffman, Jenni Thomas and Taylor Roseto are the three freshmen on the varsity team. On the junior varsity squad, Kalyn Cantwell, Beth Cyphert and Kristen Gagliardi are the three juniors. Mary Mitchell, Erika Morgan and Tonya Erickson are the three sophomores and Katie Robuck is the lone freshman.