The 2006 season could prove interesting for the Greencastle High School softball team.
Between the new mixture of coaching and the filling of holes of the six graduated starters, this season should be anything but dull.
Kyle Clearwaters has taken over the head coach position this year and has brought along a few other coaches for the ride. Tom Sanders is the new assistant varsity and junior varsity coach while Steve Miller and Terri Collins will be the other two assistant coaches this year.
"With the more coaches we have, the more experience we can bring to the team this year," Clearwaters said. "Plus numbers won't be a problem this year like it was last year, with only having two coaches for two teams."
Greencastle might have solved that, but what about the holes that the six graduating starters left? Clearwaters is more than confident of his team this year.
"All of our leadership will come from our upperclassmen and some of the freshmen and sophomores will have to step up and play varsity this year," Clearwaters said. "Every young player on our team has had varsity experience from last year and they know what to expect."
One of the bigget holes that will have to be filled is the one Lyndie Alspaugh left. She was the main pitcher for the team and one of the main hitters for the Tiger Cubs last season. She had an earn run average of 0.346 and had a batting average of .452. Another hole that will need to be filled is Megan Shotts. She was the second best hitter on the team, batting .338 while leading the teams in runs with 21. Replacing Alspaugh and Shotts may not be possible this year, but Clearwaters has few players returning this season that could attract some attention.
Returning to the team for the 2006 season is Ashley Coble, Kylie Rowings, Dru Secrest, Stevie Woodall, Tabitha Wilson, Sarah Land, Kelsey Patterson and Grace Fisher.
Rowings batted a .220 last year and scored seven runs for the Tiger Cubs. Woodall and Wilson will also contribute to the Tiger Cubs at the plate this year as well. Woodall hit .288 last season, the third highest, while Wilson hit .203.
One Tiger Cub to watch this year will be the freshman, Cassi Alspaugh. She's the younger sister of Lyndie Alspaugh and will be taking on the role of her sister as one of the main pitchers for the Tiger Cubs this season.
Clearwater believes that Greencastle's strength this year will be its fielding instead of its pitching and the lineup Greencastle has in the infield, should be fairly strong.
Last season Woodall had a fielding average of .687 and will most likely playi third base for the Tiger Cubs while Kelsey Patterson, who had a fielding average of .935 will be the Tiger Cubs first baseman. At second base will be returning player Dru Secrest who sported a .841 fielding percentage last season.
One thing that Clearwaters does understand is that it will take more than one player this year to makeup the defense for the Tiger Cubs.
"We just need to play more as a team this year and we will need to improve our defense because we had a dominant pitcher last season and this year we don't have that to rely on," Clearwaters said. "There were a few innings last season that the infield didn't see a lot of action because of our pitching."
Even though Greencastle doesn't have the hitting or the pitching staff like it had last year, its goals are still the same, win the conference and the sectional this season. Last year the Last Year the tiger Cubs finished 6-6 in the West Cnetral Conference, tying for fourth, but Clearwaters believes it could be different this year.
"All the teams that did really good last year graduated a lot of their starters so the conference is open to anyone," he said.
Greencastle will get its chance to prove itself on March 21 when it hosts Riverton Parke at 5 p.m.