If the weather holds up, it’s going to be a busy first two weeks of the season for the Weyauwega-Fremont softball team.
The Indians were scheduled to open the season March 24 at New London, host Wautoma Thursday, March 26, and host Waupaca Friday, March 27, before playing two more home games next week against Merrill and Lourdes Academy.
That’s just fine with coach Todd Breuer.
“During March, we play five very good nonconference teams,” he said. “The girls know it and it’s part of their excitement. I’m looking forward to learning a lot about our team and getting some things figured out before we start conference play in April.”
The Indians tied with Bonduel for fourth place last year in the Central Wisconsin 8 Conference with a 6-7 record and were 11-11 overall.
“They’ve shown me a lot, actually,” Breuer said. “Their excitement level is higher than any other year. I don’t know if it’s because of the nice weather, but they’re really excited. They’re working hard and doing well.”
Returning starters include seniors Jordan Krause, Miranda Potratz and Liz Hillskotter and juniors Karissa Akey and Rachel Knorr.
Many of them played on successful volleyball and basketball teams this season.
“By the time I get them, they know what it’s all about,” Breuer said. “It’s always a good sign when the volleyball and basketball teams are doing well. That’s an indicator that we’re going to do OK.”
Although there is a handful of returning players back, the Indians do have some holes to fill.
“We lost a couple of good seniors last year, especially Kori Looker, who played third base for us and did an awesome job batting,” Breuer said. “Our strength is going to be our batting. I think we have some girls that can hit the ball pretty hard this year, not just Karissa Akey. They played a lot of ball last summer and hit the ball well.”
Instead of relying on experienced pitching, the Indians are going with a pair of freshmen, Kiley Akey and Cadyn Ehrenberg.
“We have two freshmen right now and I’m excited about them,” Breuer said. “They’ve both been pitching for four or five years now since they’ve been little and kind of complement each other pretty well.
“It’s new for me,” he added. “I’ve never had two pitchers that I could use in a season. I’ve always had that one. Last year, I was hoping to have two, but Katie Ponto got hurt and we ended up with only one.”
Breuer expects Shiocton and Stevens Point Pacelli, last year’s co-champions, and Iola-Scandinavia to compete for a CWC-8 title.
“Most of Iola’s infielders have been playing for four years now and (coach Tom Anderson) does a nice job with the program over there,” he said. “Pacelli has a nice program and is competitive every year. Shiocton has Sydney Wilcox, a dominating pitcher. I look to compete with all of them this year.”
Many of the Indians’ losses came at the hands of those three teams last year.
“Little things make the difference,” Breuer said. “What do those other teams do? They hit well, they play defense and pitch well. We have to do all those things, but then we have to do all the other things, whether it’s making that play in the outfield, being extra-aggressive on the bases or working harder in the weight room. We have to find those little things that’s going to give us an advantage.”