Softball teams get started

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sports Editor

After an offseason of enjoying its dramatic Class 3A state championship win, the St. Charles softball team now gets to experience the other side of championship accomplishment: the year after.

It’s often said that defending a championship is twice as hard as winning one – you become the hunted. That may be doubly true for the Comets, who graduated seven seniors a year ago and boast new faces all over the field as the season begins this week.

“We’re very inexperienced,” said St. Charles coach Ty Monica, entering his third year with the team. “We’re definitely going to be playing a different brand of Comets softball. It’ll make things interesting.”

Still, Monica looks for that “different brand” to maintain many of the staples that his team’s been known for over the past two seasons.

“The way we’ll have to win, we’re going to have to play very good defense, and we’re going to have to manufacture runs. We’ve got to learn to do those things in some way, shape or form.”

The team remains in good shape on the mound. Although Ashley Trosclair and her 14-2 record departs, junior Courtney Western brings back her 0.80 ERA fresh off a spectacular performance in last season’s state playoffs. She will be joined by Megan Louque in the rotation to start the year. Jennifer Heltz, who pitched over the summer for SCC, could also make an impact.

Her experienced bat will also be a big help from the leadoff spot. At third base, senior Katie Reine will be relied upon to have a big season. The same goes for senior outfielder Brooke Becker. Both are returning starters.

Riverside also comes off a memorable run to the Class 2A state semifinals a year ago, and the team hopes to take another step in 2009.

The Rebels lose some  key pieces at the top of their order in shortstop Marci Millet and outfielder Brittney Schoen.

But Riverside returns one of the state’s top centerfielders in senior Heidi Garcich, who hit .566 a season ago. Senior first baseman Ayla Vicknair brings her potent combination of glovework and batting prowess back. Freshman Kelsi Roussel could make a bigger impact after a strong playoff performance where she had walk-off, game-winning RBIs in the regional and quarterfinal rounds. And pitcher Chelsie Stein is a year more experienced after starting the team’s postseason games as a freshman.

East St. John has a tough road ahead again, as District 6-5A looks to be among the toughest in the state again.

The Wildcats will replace All-Parish pitcher Stacy Sutton with freshman Laura Scioneaux, who has seen her first starting action this week. 

East St. John coach Monica Hebert also expects strong campaigns from five returning starters: sophomore catcher Jasmine Brown, junior shortstop Seymone McKinney, junior third baseman Troyonne Kendrick, sophomore first baseman Jessica Brown, and junior second baseman Samantha Owens.

“We’re only losing two senior starters, so our defense is intact,” said Hebert. “We should be ok in that area. I saw some things I liked in our scrimmages.”

West St. John loses a number of key contributors, including its battery in catcher Tranell Mitchell and pitcher Destani Comminie.

In their stead, pitcher Deveny Baptiste and catcher/pitcher Rayia Boudoin will take their place.

Juniors Chasity Everson (first base) and Kyla Morris (centerfield), along with sophomores Kori Hebert (shortstop) and Armani Favorite (centerfield) are returning players to watch.

But with some of the team’s offensive firepower gone, coach Brandon Dumas has placed added emphasis on situational hitting.

“It’s required for all players,” said Dumas. “We’ve got to all be able to lay down a bunt, move the runners. Even our top hitters are going to need to do this so we can get better in certain circumstances.

“We lost a great nucleus, so we’ve got to deal with a little more inexperience this year.”

Reserve Christian was one run away from the postseason last year, as the Eagles lost an 8-7 heartbreaker against Grand Isle for the final playoff spot in District 10-C.

RCS coach Michael Reeves has high hopes for his team to break through in 2009, however.

“I think we’ll make our push,” he said. “We were so close last year.”

The tough part for Reeves team will be dealing with new starters at pitcher, catcher, and first base.

“It’s tough to replace those positions in one offseason,” he says. “They touch the ball the most.”

Senior Amanda Watson steps in for former starter Madison Reeves at pitcher. Watson gained experience in the role a season ago, often alternating in games with Reeves. 

Marcie Blanchard returns in centerfield, and will form a potent hitting combination with Watson in the middle of the Eagles’ order this season.