The Northview softball team has brought a winning attitude to the field this season, a mentality that has certainly been aided by two of their first-year coaches.
Bethany Jones, formerly Bethany Buell, takes over the head coaching spot for the Knights and is joined by assistants, Dennis Leek, Laura Hayes and Bradi Johnson.
Jones and Hayes were teammates on the 1995 Knights squad that were state runner-ups. The pair bring a lot of experience at winning to a Northview squad that loses just two seniors from last years team.
Leek formerly worked with Terre Haute North's players and Johnson is a former Northview player as well.
"I think that we will put out a lineup where all the players can hit," commented Jones. "Our top-five in the lineup can all hit the ball really well. By the end of the season I think our freshmen will come along with their hitting as well."
The Knights will certainly miss the bat of the graduated Natalie Shoemaker and Elise Sterrett's experience as well, but Northview returns an experienced lineup and brings in some talented freshmen who will see time according to Jones.
"We've got three positions that we'll be filling with freshmen. I feel like our veterans have helped teach the girls and have done a good job teaching them game-situations. They've all stepped up and done well."
The infield defense should be solid as Kayla Glassburn returns at shortstop along with second baseman Jennifer Gregg and third baseman Casey Challandes. Behind the plate will be cleanup hitter Kayla Harlan with sophomore Stephanie Jonson getting much of the time on the mound. The only new addition will be Erica Conrad at first base.
Jonson was baptized by fire last year as a freshman, basically learning to pitch as she went. She really only has been pitching for about 18 months and has shown tremendous progress already this season.
"She has a lot of pressure on her last year," Jones said of her sophomore hurler. "That pressure really matured her. She's already more confident and that helps tremendously."
Jonson has split her first two decisions this year, but has shown a big increase in velocity as well as gaining a lot better grasp of her control. With a 14 strikeout opener and added a two-hitter in the rematch versus Owen Valley in which she got the victory while striking out six.
As she develops more pitches to complement her fastball and riseball, Jonson could be the dominating pitcher that great teams feature.
The Knights will also get pitching help from Sky Singleton and Challandes this year.
The outfield will be an important factor in the Northview development as freshmen Kyler Clark and Lindsay Thomas will get most of the starts along with Chandra Burns.
The Knights' talented freshmen class will also have Traci Sanders battling for time in the infield along with senior Jessica Raderstorf who will get plenty of action in a utility role.
With the returning talent that Northview features this season, team unity is one of Jones key goals for the year. "I want us to play together as a team. I'm really happy with how they've come together so far."
The Knights will get their first big test of the year with a visit to Class 4A 10th-ranked Martinsville on Friday night. The Artesians were also the team that ended Northview's season last year with a 2-1 sectional defeat.
2005 Northview Varsity Softball Schedule
|April 5||At Owen Valley||5 p.m. (L 0-3)|
|April 6||vs. Owen Valley||5 p.m. (W 6-2)|
|April 8||at Martinsville||5 p.m.|
|April 11||vs. Bloomington South||5:45 p.m.|
|April 12||vs. Plainfield||5 p.m.|
|April 14||at Shakamak||5 p.m.|
|April 16||at Brown County||11 a.m.|
|April 18||vs. S.Vermillion||5 p.m.|
|April 19||at S.Vermillion||5 p.m.|
|April 21||at T.H. South||5 p.m.|
|April 26||vs. Sullivan||5 p.m.|
|April 27||at Sullivan||5 p.m.|
|May 3||at West Vigo||5 p.m.|
|May 4||vs. West Vigo||5 p.m.|
|May 5||at Bloomington North||5 p.m.|
|May 9||at Riverton Parke||5 p.m.|
|May 10||at T.H. North||5 p.m.|
|May 12||at Mooresville||5 p.m.|
|May 13||vs. Clay City||5 p.m.|
|May 17||vs. Edgewood||5 p.m.|
|May 18||at Edgewood||5 p.m.|
|May 21||at Castle Tourney||10 a.m.|
|May 23||at Sectional||TBA|