By Justin Hunter
CHURUBUSCO — The sound of softballs striking leather mitts has returned to the softball field at Churubusco High School.
Head coach Phil Nicolette returns at the helm after coaching his first season for the Eagles last year. Nicolette was hired in the middle of the season, but still posted a respectful 11-14 record, and was on the winning column in the Northeast Corner Conference with a 6-4 record.
“Last year was disorganized because I didn’t know any of the girls when I got here,” said Nicolette. “I had to take time to find out what positions fit them best. I’m feeling better this season.”
Nicolette said Churubusco expects to rely on younger players for the team to be successful. The Eagles only have four seniors and no juniors on the roster.
“We’re really young. Most of our players are underclassmen,” Nicolette said. “We’re actually going to start freshmen and sophomores. So, the goal isn’t to win every game. It’s to get better every game. We have a lot of talent. Our freshmen played well last season, so I expect them to get better. At the end of the season, we’ll try to make a run and win a sectional title.”
Senior Mallory Pearson returns to third base. She had a .342 batting average last season and the coach expects her to lead the young squad.
“I expect Mallory to be a vocal leader for our team,” said Nicolette.
Nicolette also stresses that the team is coming in with both strengths and weaknesses.
“Our infield is one of the best, if not the best, in the conference. But, we do have a lot of work to do in the outfield,” said Nicolette.
If Churubusco wants to put up more wins than loses, Nicolette said the Lady Eagles will have to conquer some very respected teams.
“Our schedule is so brutal right off the bat. We start with state-ranked teams to begin the season. We’ll have to get better pretty fast,” said Nicolette.
The Eagles open their season at New Haven March 29 at 5 p.m.