Softball preview: Lisle looking to defend league title
Lions lose big chunk of production to replace, but head coach Jen Pomatto is ready to replace it.
LISLE — Seven seniors have departed from last year's team, including Mackenzie Buchelt and her .450 average, 10 home runs and 43 RBIs.
Also gone is Melanie Early, who went 18-2 as a pitcher and batted a team-high .488.
It's a big chunk of production to replace, but the Lions and head coach Jen Pomatto are ready to do just that.
"We lost a core group of kids, but we do have kids coming back that have seen success," Pomatto said. "It's a different team, but these kids have the want-to and the desire-to, and they're working hard."
The most noticeable change will be inside pitching circle, where Pomatto could use a trio of hurlers to replace Early. Summer Stitt, Hayley Belina and Shelby Jensen will all get their chances to win games for the Lions.
"I don't think any one pitcher has moved past the others. We're going to see who is the most consistent, but we're confident with the girls," the coach said. "They don't have a ton of innings (with us), but they worked really hard in the offseason and in the summer."
Even with a new-look pitching staff, the Lions are in good shape to continue their tradition of success, which includes 10 postseason trophies (including fourth in the state in 2011) in the last four years.
As a batter, Stitt hit .347 with 33 runs. Kelly Urban (.323, 27 runs) and Abby Tarasewicz also batted over .300, with Tarasewicz doing so as a slap hitter at the back end of the lineup. Tarasewicz could jump up to the No. 1 spot in the order, but Pomatto doesn't have anything set in stone.
"We'll use our non-conference games to play around with some things," Pomatto said. "We have quite a bit of speed so we'll try to use that any way we can."
Postseason trophies and a trip to state are certainly a possibility for Lisle this spring, but first it must navigate a tough Interstate Eight Conference schedule.
"We won (conference) last year, but every game is always tough," Pomatto said. "We have a shot, but Seneca has a good shot. It really could be anyone."
Meet the Lions
Coach: Jen Pomatto
2012 record: 30-4 (13-3 Interstate Eight Conference)
Hayley Belina sr. P/IF
Isabella Daly fr. IF
Shelby Jensen jr. P/IF
Summer Stitt jr. P/SS
Abby Tarasewicz sr. OF
Kate Twaddle so. IF/OF
Kelly Urban sr. OF/SS
Next game: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. Rosary