Tuscola Warriors softball springs forward
By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s softball team hits full stride into the 2023 campaign this week with five games in six days after getting just one of five in this past week due to Mother Natures’ cold spell. The group led off the year in exciting fashion with a come-from-behind 6-5 walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Warriors will look to build on a Regional Championship squad from a year ago behind nine players that saw time on the varsity diamond a year ago, including 5 of the top 6 in the batting order.
Ella Boyer an Illinois State commit was strong at the plate for the black and gold a year ago. The senior led the squad in batting average (.556), RBIs (46), and HRs (10), earning her All CIC honors, All Area 1st team honors and was also selected All-State by the coaches association. She hit her first dinger of the year in the opener on a 2 for 3 evening. Isabelle Wilcox, a second Team All-State honoree and All CIC and All-Area performer, ended her year with a .486 batting average that included five hours and a team-best 7-triples.
Two other seniors, Makenna Fiscus and Claire Meyer will also fill leadership roles for the Warriors. Fiscus set up behind the plate again after a solid junior season. Meyer will hit in the middle of the order and be a utility player in the field playing in both the infield and the outfield.
Gone to graduation from last season is over 150 innings on the mound and an All-CIC pitcher in Kerri Pierce. Wilcox will look to fill the void in the circle. She collected win number one on the year, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 in 7 innings of work. Joining her on the pitching staff this season will be juniors Katie Gibson and Addy Ring and a pair of freshmen, Cailin Munson and Bailey Taylor.
Ring patrolled the outfield grass and was a big part of the lineup a year ago, beating out bunts or driving the ball deep. Emily Czerwonka and Zoey Thomason are two other third year players that produced on offense a year ago. The duo collected All CIC accolades a year ago and were integral parts in the victory over Maroa. Czerwonka recorded the first hit of the year while going 3 for 3 on the evening. Thomason hit the ball hard all game and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
The sophomore class boasts a trio of players in Ava Boyer, Allyson Pettry and Emily Veach will be more than a supporting cast. Veach saw time in the outfield a year ago and Pettry spent some time on the base paths as a pinch runner. Boyer started off her freshman campaign as the Warriors leadoff and ended the year and started this season off in the same spot. She tied with big sister Ella in the HR column delivering 10 while posting a .495 batting average, scoring 54 runs. As a rookie, she made the biggest post-season haul of any first-year player in program history. Boyer was a Unanimous First Team All CIC Selection, a Third Team All-Stater, First Team All-Area Herald and Review pick, and secured a Second Team All-Area News-Gazette spot.
The black and gold will look to a large and talented freshman class as the season progresses. Alaina Smith served as the designated player in the batting order against Maroa, while Munson entered the game as both a courtesy and pinch runner.
Bailey Taylor and Delaney Tyler will add to the battery. Taylor looks good in the early going in the circle and Tyler has seen time at both catcher and third base. Kayleigh Bales is another newcomer that has impressed in early practices.