The Blazers hope to emulate last season's triumphs after the most successful season in the history of Blair softball. The girls amassed a 9-5 record en route to a division title for the first time in Blair history. They earned a first-round bye in the county playoffs, and while they lost to the perennially strong Springbrook Blue Devils in the second round, the Blazers had nothing to be ashamed of at the end of the year.
The team lost seven starters to graduation last June and will play just five seniors this year. Only three of those seniors have varsity experience: captains Marianne Epstein, Amy Ernst and Rebecca Feiden. Seniors Katherine Epstein and Anna Schoenfelder will also start. "We need our seniors to play well and be leaders," said Coach Louis Hoelman.
The Blazers have three freshmen on varsity that are going to be impact players, notably Michelle Linford, who will vie for the starting job at pitcher with junior Ellie Blalock. Freshman Annie Denenberg will also provide added depth on the rubber, a factor last year's Blazers lacked after four-year starter Emma Simson injured her shoulder.
Another strength of this year's team is a chemistry that last season's division champs had difficulty mustering. "I think that this team enjoys playing softball, and because of that they're coming together very quickly," said Hoelman.
Hoelman added that this is also the hardest-working team he's ever coached. The captains ran winter workouts four days a week—two of weightlifting, two of plyometrics—and went to several indoor clinics run by local coach Paul O'Brien. Hoelman is not allowed to work with the team in the off-season under state rules.
Although the team may still lack power at the plate, the plyometrics, an intensive program designed to improve explosiveness, should pay off in the squad's quickness. "I think one of this team's biggest strengths is our overall speed. If we put runners on the base paths and use aggressive base running, we can make some noise," said Hoelman.
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »