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Prior to last season’s 27-2 record and state championship for Holy Family softball, the program hadn’t won a ring since 2006 when they were in 3A (currently 4A).
Now, under six-year manager Mitchell Martinez, the Lady Tigers bring back a deep, young squad hoping to make another historic run this season.
“We are really excited for this season,” Martinez said in a phone interview last week. “I know it is a cliché, but `every year is a new year’ and have always approached it that way. This is a whole new group of kids in terms of starting the year, so we are going to work and see what happens.”
As five seniors in Sara Rode, Erin Caviness, Katie Bine, Kaitlyn McKenzie and Erin Winters vacated the program in style last fall, only two seniors in Noelle Garden and Anna Martinez return as four-year players. A large junior class of nine matched with young talent sprinkled throughout the roster helps maintain the high hopes and standards of this HF program.
After starting as freshmen a year ago and now heading into their sophomore season, Abby Edwards and Ava Kuszak headline the talent of the underclassmen expected to make a sizeable jump from year one to two.
Carrying on with the depth of this team, Martinez called his junior class “very strong” when it comes to their abilities heading into their third year in the program.
The players often change in high school athletics, but one thing that won’t for HF is their style of play. Priding themselves in contact at the plate, putting pressure on the opposing team is in the Lady Tigers’ DNA.
“Even with losing some players to graduation, our style of play will not change. We like to put the ball in play however that is through groundballs, line drives, and bunts,” Martinez said. “We want to keep pressure on the defense however we can.”
Outscoring their opponents over last season with an eye-popping 318-64 advantage, Holy Family also came away victorious in their final 14 contests to end their magical, championship run. This prideful program hopes for more of the same in 2019.
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