LA GRANGE PARK – It’s early in the season and Riverside Brookfield’s softball team has plenty of youth, but the rebuilding process is right on track.
The Bulldogs suffered an uncharacteristic losing season last year, but with a new coach and a talented freshmen class, optimism has returned to the program. RB is off to a 2-6 start after Tuesday’s 11-3 loss to Elmwood Park, which was the Metro Suburban Conference opener.
With four freshmen and three sophomores on the roster, there is plenty of youth. There are just three seniors on the team.
“We got a young team. That means we got a foundation building here,” coach Doug Schultz said. “The young [kids] are talented and they’re showing that they deserve their spots on the varsity.”
Freshmen Cameron Shaw, Lindsay Hoyd, Marrisa McDermott and Camryn Hamilton all have contributed to the team so far along with sophomores Kendall Hastings, Nicole McCabe and Taylor Holin. For now, Schultz is putting a lot of different players in the lineup to see what they can do in game action.
“The whole team impresses us,” Schultz said. “It’s tough to put up a lineup each and every day because a lot of decisions have to be made. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces to be put together and very little time to experience it, especially with this spring. It’s been more like winter. We’ve been indoors so it’s hard to see somebody in their true abilities. We’ve been limited with that, but we’re going to try to get everybody as many looks as we can and build our lineup that way.”
Schultz has shrugged off the transition as a new coach with a team that has just four varsity returners. The four returners are Hastings, senior Sam Cook and juniors Katie O’Connell and Lana Herrmann.
The downside for the Bulldogs so far has been their inability to prevent the big innings. In a 15-10 loss to Nazareth on Thursday, RB led 7-2 after four innings, but gave up eight runs in the fifth inning and five more runs in the sixth.
“In this early season we’ve [given up] a big inning here and there, so we want to work on not having those big innings,” Schultz said. “Getting the little things done so we can get our outs.”