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Posted: 03/27/13

McIntyre sees talented group of
players ready for 2013 softball season

by RICK DESOTELL
Observer Sports Writer
      After repeating as MAC Red and District champions last season, the 2013 Romeo High softball team is looking to continue the tradition of winning despite the fact that for the first time in a while, they will have a new look at almost every position.
       Fortunately for the Lady Bulldogs, the two most important positions, pitcher and catcher, are not a part of that equation.
       Junior right-hander Taylor Weaver (41-4) returns to the circle after earning All State honors as a sophomore last year and verbally committing to play softball at Central Michigan University.
       "The expectations for this year's team are no different than years past,'' said Romeo Coach Dave McIntyre. "We have talented, committed players who want to be part of our softball family. They have worked extremely hard in the gym and on the mental side of the game. I am excited to see where we are at when the season is completed. We are very excited for Taylor to receive a softball scholarship to a great program but we look forward to benefiting from her talents for the next two years. Taylor has worked so hard in the offseason, she may be one of our most improved players this year.''
       Battery mate Briana Becker returns as the starting catcher and will help stabilize the team defensively. Becker, a four-year varsity player, started all 37 games last year while batting .318.
       "We always say the pitcher is the face of the team but the catcher is the heart and soul,'' said McIntyre of the talented Becker. "We are very blessed to have these two childhood friends lead us from the center of the diamond."
       As for the position players, sophomore Kayla Noch, junior Geordin Craun and sophomore Danielle Szajna are all projected to start at new positions after making significant contributions last year.
       Noch led the team last year with 32 RBIs and had the second highest batting average with .442. Craun batted .418 as a sophomore and will be counted on to play somewhere in the middle of the field this year, while Szajna batted .344 as a freshman last year after winning the DH position halfway through the season.
       "Kayla Noch is a very talented player who we will look to provide leadership to this year's team,'' said McIntyre. "Geordin Craun has tremendous athletic ability and has worked extremely hard on her game in the off season. We are looking forward to her playing a bigger role this year. Danni Szajna made huge improvements last year and with her increased speed from cross country, we expect big things from her this year."
       The returners will be complemented by a group of very talented newcomers in senior Nica Puglise, juniors Christina Figurski, Kimiko Hinatsu and Brooke Meyers, sophomore Erin Barg and freshman Morgan Gardner.
       "Morgan Gardner has been very impressive during the early season practices and is expected to start somewhere up the middle this year with Noch and Craun,'' said McIntyre. "Morgan has the talent and experience to contribute immediately to this year's team. Together those three will make us very athletic up the middle defensively."
       Barg, along with Figurski, Hinatsu, Meyers and Puglise will fill out the rest of the lineup.
       "Our players have shown steady improvement every day and the pursuit of playing time has been very competitive,'' McIntyre added. "We have a youthful excitement in practice with all of the new faces. We may have lost experience in our players but we certainly have not lost any heart or determination. This year's team is as committed as any team we have had in the past. We have an extremely hard schedule in the early part of the season. We make two trips to the west side of the state to participate in highly competitive tournaments. We know we will stick together and improve as the season progresses. This group is very determined and competitive. Now we just have to wait for Mother Nature to let us outside and play."
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Retrieved 7/22/2014 at 11:26:04 AM.
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