With a deep pitching staff and several key returning players, Berkshire’s softball team hopes to compete for a league title this spring.
The Badgers return six starters and three others with varsity experience from the squad that finished 12-16 overall and 6-7 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“We have a very talented junior class, and seniors Kylie Neumore and Angie Romano add to that group. If all the pieces fall into place, this is a team that can compete for a CVC Valley title,” said Berkshire coach Dave List. “I think right now our goals are to compete for the conference title and to have a winning record. Our sectional/district is always tough, but getting to the district semifinal game last year was a great experience for our returning players.”
Romano and Neumore have been mainstays in the Berkshire lineup over the past four years. Romano will start at third and pitch while Neumore is locked in at shortstop.
“I’m really looking for Neumore to have a bounce-back year at the plate,” List said. “She’s a very talented shortstop.”
Berkshire’s top returning player is junior Sierra Berman, who will catch this season.
Berman, a first-team All-CVC performer, led the team in nearly every offensive category last spring. She batted .432 with four home runs, 35 stolen bases, a .511 on-base percentage, and a .757 slugging percentage.
Junior Cam Leggett once again will serve as Berkshire’s primary pitcher and play third when she’s not in the circle. She batted .395 and posted a team-best 25 runs batted in last spring in earning second-team All-CVC honors.
Another standout junior returning starter is Maddie Triskett, who was named second-team All-CVC last year.
Triskett will start at second base. She batted .297 last season.
“Maddy Triskett has looked great in early season practice,” List said. “I’m looking for her to have a big year.”
Rounding out Berkshire’s projected starting infield is first baseman Anni Bergmeier, a junior. She batted .309 last spring.
The Badgers have depth in the outfield with Lana Beech, Faith Aldridge, Brooke Ruchalski, Sophia Laudato, Julia Surace, Athena Stute, and Olivia Masink competing for innings.
Surace also will serve as the team’s backup catcher.
In the circle, Leggett and Romano will chew up most of the innings with Bergmeier, Stute, and Kylie Gleason providing the Badgers with capable arms when needed.
“I think pitching and 1-6 in the lineup will be (our) strengths,” List said. “We have experience and depth in the circle, but balls will be put in play so solid defense is a must. We have some players moving to new positions, so that presents an early-season challenge. Hopefully, they can grow into their new positions/roles quickly.”
List is confident the Badgers have the talent and depth needed to achieve their goals but he knows his players will have to develop a mental toughness to overcome the adversity they’ll face this spring.
“We have to get stronger mentally if we are going to reach our goals,” he said. “If we are going to be successful, I think we need every player to step up.”