By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Cruiser softball team is looking to continue its domination of the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division as it begins its pursuit of a fourth straight championship this season.
“You can’t win four without winning three first,” said Cruiser head softball coach Chris Downing. “So we are in position to win it again, but the other teams, especially Newark and Big Walnut are more experienced and will provide a huge obstacle.”
Downing said the strength of this year’s team is senior leadership.
“Their experience is immeasurable,” said Downing. “They have stepped up like assistant coaches at times with helping the younger girls.”
As far as areas of improvement for the team, Downing said, “We lack experience in the outfield and consistent hitting is always a worry, but Coach Kern has been spending extra time tweaking the players’ swings and approach in th batter’s box.”
Senior Ally Maddy will once again be the primary pitcher for the team and Downing said there are several other players who will play significant roles on the team, including Kenzie Maddy (pitcher, second base), Milan Caldwell (first base), Rachael Koller (shortstop, pitcher) and Macie Sporleder (third base).
“Our infield is completely seniors and how they go we will go,” said Downing. “Rachael Koller is a move-in student to the district and is a great addition. She has provided an instant boost and energy to the team. Junior Mikayla Mullins, catcher and utility player, is critical along with the bat and mound presence of sophomore Kendyll Cahill. These two will help cement a stronger lineup.”
For the past few seasons, the Cruiser softball team has played its “home” on the historic softball fields at Groveport Elementary. However, this season th varsity and junior varsity teams will begin play in their new softball fields, which feature artificial turf infields, on the grounds of Groveport Madison High School.
“The new fields provide us with more opportunity to practice outside in the great Ohio weather,” said Downing. “I also think the turf will be an advantage over non-turf teams. The advantage,s however, started in September when we were able to start working on the fields and do it right after school. There are challenges with any new situation and we will work through them. But the advantages far exceed anything negative.”
The Groveport Madison Cruisers 2020 softball schedule: 3-28 Circleville 11 a.m.; 3-28 Westfall 3 p.m.; 3-30 at Gahanna 5:15 p.m.; 3-31 at Lancaster 5:15 p.m.; 4-1 at Westerville North 5:15 p.m.; 4-3 Westerville Central 5 p.m.; 4-4 Hartley 10 a.m.; 4-6 Marysville 5:15 p.m.; 4-8 Canal Winchester 5:15 p.m.; 4-9 at Franklin Heights 5:15 p.m.; 4-10 Olentangy Liberty 5:15 p.m.; 4-20 at New Albany 5:15 p.m.; 4-22 Newark 5:15 p.m.; 4-23 at Big Walnut 5:15 p.m.; 4-27 Franklin Heights 5:15 p.m.; 4-28 at Canal Winchester 5:15 p.m..; 5-1 Pickerington Central 5:15 p.m. p.m.; 5-4 at Newark 5:15 p.m.; 5-6 Big Walnut 5:15 p.m.; 5-7 New Albany 5:15 p.m.; 5-8 at Mount Vernon 5 p.m.