By Chris Chaney
The Goshen Lady Warriors are going to have to learn on the fly this year as head coach John Strauss is running out a group of relatively inexperienced players on the varsity level.
“We’re a young, young team,” Strauss said. “I’m starting four freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and a senior.”
Winless so far on the season, Strauss and the Lady Warriors have a small sample-size to go upon, but early signs point to the team steadily improving as the year progresses, with most of their success on the horizon as more and more players gain invaluable game experience.
With so many young parts, Strauss is looking to the few upperclassmen that he has to lead the way.
“I would say my two juniors are both solid ball players: Rian Adams and Bethany Strauss,” the coach said.
Adams mans the corner spots of the infield, while Strauss plays primarily at second base or in left field. Both need to have their defense performing at a high level with a pair of first-year players taking to the circle for the Lady Warriors.
“I have a freshman pitcher and a freshman back-up pitcher,” Strauss said of Andrea Kenser and Kelsie Rodich. “They’re still in the learning curve, trying to learn how to pitch at this level against older competition. They’re both decent pitchers, but have a lot of learning to do.”
Strauss’ comments about his pitchers needing to learn some things about playing at the varsity level could be applied to most, if not all of the other positions on the field.
“At this point, we’re trying to learn how to be competitive against older competition,” Strauss explained. “We’re learning how to play this game fundamentally sound. A good number of (the team) has travel ball experience in their background, but their used to playing against 14 year olds.
“All of the sudden, they get to high school and they’re facing 16, 17 and 18 year olds. It’s a different game. Even if you’ve got some travel ball experience in your background, freshmen have a hard time adjusting.”
Even lacking in the experience department, the Lady Warriors have been competitive in the majority of the early-season games. Goshen got solid hitting from Shalee Gray and Bethany Strauss in the season-opener, both reaching base twice and crossing the plate at least once.
The early signs are promising for Goshen and even if they may not have the wherewithal to capture a league title this year, Strauss doesn’t expect them to be bottom-dwellers in the league.
“The kind of goals we set this year (were) to improve and play at a level that is competitive against really good teams,” Strauss said. “(We do that) by doing the little things right… Expectations as far as the league goes, I would imagine in our side of the (league), we should finish in the top three.”
After a game-heavy start to the season, the Lady Warriors have a light schedule in Week Two before getting back into a stretch of three games in three days beginning with a game at Fayetteville on Monday, April 15.