Bloomfield softball looks for underclassmen leadership

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Lila Koontz is one of the sophomores who will be called upon as a leader for the Lady Cardinals.
File photo.

After a 10-14 year, the Bloomfield softball team is looking to take the next step.

The 10 wins last year were the most for the Lady Cardinals since 2013-14 as second-year Head Coach Dustin Haywood said the team is working on establishing a culture this year.

“We’re focusing more on establishing that culture this year, working in the weight room,” Haywood said. “We’ve got two seniors, one junior who hasn’t played high school softball before this year and the rest are sophomore and freshmen. We have four sophomores who started last year as freshmen, so they really have to step up and be leaders for us this year.”

In establishing the culture, the first word that Haywood used to describe it was “hustle.”

“We’re working on getting faster and stronger,” Haywood said. “Last year we weren’t quick on the bases, we’re trying to read hits and get extra bases. If we do that, I like our chances. We want to keep errors down, especially mental mistakes. I have high hopes for the future, we’ll have nine freshmen next year and the goal is to have a JV next year.”

While the Lady Cardinals are young, the experience is there as they have seven returners from last year’s roster.

The two seniors for Bloomfield are Brooklynne Miller and Madalyn Yake, while junior Addison Thompson is a newcomer to the team.

Five sophomores are returning from last year in Addison LaFree, Ella Vandeventer, Lila Koontz, Addy Martin and Madison O’Conner.

LaFree led the team last year with 27 hits and 27 runs, while Koontz had 20 runs, 21 hits, 15 RBIs and three home runs.

“As a sophomore, there’s a lot of pressure,” LaFree said. “We as underclassmen have to step up as leaders, which means being positive and keeping our head and shoulders high.”

Freshmen for the team include Aaliyah O’Conner, Riley Strauser, Brylie Agee, Bella McIntosh and Greta Dunigan.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year,” Koontz said. “I’m excited just to get playing and learning together.”

Bloomfield will start the season hosting Loogootee on Tuesday, April 2 before taking on Springs Valley on Wednesday.

“We’re looking for consistency, everyone doing their jobs,” Haywood said. “If everyone does that, we’ll succeed. I like that we’re young, it allows us to build off of what we have and build the culture this year. We can instill how we act on the field, in the weight room. Our three goals are a winning record, winning SWIAC and winning a Sectional.”

After the first two home games, the Lady Cardinals will travel to take on Cloverdale on Thursday, April 4 before returning home on Friday to take on North Daviess.

“We learned a lot last year about being a leader,” LaFree said. “Now we go out there, be positive and be a good mentor for the freshmen.”

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