Magnolia Loaded With Underclassmen
For the past several years Magnolia High School’s softball team has had some pretty good seasons, and if the girls want to get back into those seasons again they will need to do it with one senior, two juniors and 13 underclassmen, including six freshmen.
Third-year head coach Dillon Mangino lost a flock of good talent to graduation in catcher Aubrey Gibb, first baseman, Katie Blatt, second baseman Kasey Hilpert and shortstop/pitcher Abby Durig.
He only returned one starter from the infield in Davianne Croasmun. The Eagles do return junior Tylar Seckman who didn’t play last season because of a knee injury, while classmate Emily Shank saw some time in the outfield.
Croasmun was Miss Steady at the plate, and led the team in home-runs and RBI’s, while holding down the hot-corner on defense.
Seckman played her freshman season as a first-basemen/pitcher, and looks to do that again, while Shank only needs a few reps to get back into the swing of things again.
The rest of the lineup is made up of underclassmen, including six freshmen. Seven sophomores will be called upon to grow up in a hurry.
Mangino, has a pair of freshmen hurlers that will split time with Seckman in between the circle, in Ashley Tharp and Ashlyn Piekarski.
Besides Croasmun at third, and Seckman and Piekarski splitting time at first base, the rest of the infield is wide open for the underclassmen to take. Sophomore sisters Alovia and Lauren Anderson, along with Alex Berger, look to break into the starting lineup somewhere, while freshmen Tharp, Aquera Cabral and Lindsay Whiteman will battle the sophomores for starting spots in the infield.
The loss of Gibb behind the plate will sting a lot, but sophomore Katie Hamrick saw plenty of action in the reserve games and varsity double-headers.
With Shank holding down one of the outfield positions, it will be up to return players Mackenzie Ash, Kenra Petin and Alexis Taylor to fill the other two spots.
Freshmen Rian Dawson and Lakin Young look to press the returning sophomores for playing time.
With no junior high program in place at Magnolia, the Eagles must work harder than ever to work on the basic fundamentals, including running the bases and sliding, if they want to compete right away.
The Magnolia softball program has been up there with the big dogs year-after-year, and has benefited by some outstanding pitching and catching with some timely hitting in the past .
With a depleted infield and a young outfield, Magnolia might take their lumps early on, but with Mangino and Danny Anderson at the helm anything is possible.
Magnolia will take on Shadyside, River, and Ravenswood in New Martinsville at the Hydro field today, 31, and April 1, respectively.