Crawfordsville softball will face an uphill climb in 2021.
The Athenians were 9-19 in 2019. Crawfordsville was poised to double their win total in 2020, but the season was canceled, and now Kevin Kellerman inherits a team with just three returning varsity players.
“To say we are young and inexperienced would be an understatement,” first-year coach Kevin Kellerman, who was set to take over the Athenian program in 2020, said. “Nine of the 13 girls on the roster have not played since middle school.”
Kellerman does feel like Crawfordsville will be improved over years past in the circle, including junior Olivia Reed, who is also the top returning hitter for the Athenians after a .324 average her freshman season. Senior Kaylie Miller will also be a part of the pitching staff.
Seniors Allyson Barton and Alexus McCaskill join Reed as the only returning players from 2019.
The ability to get back on the field is the first and most important step.
“We played a scrimmage game vs North Montgomery on Wednesday and you could just feel the excitement and happiness to be back on the diamond from both the players and the coaches,” Kellerman said. “Things just felt normal again. We were cheated out of so many memories and opportunities last year that we will never get back. The ‘lost season’ serves as a reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed and we need to appreciate every day we have together. High school sports is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is meant to be fun so our message to the team is just that. Work hard every single day, compete and have fun doing it.”
Junior Laine Schlicher and sophomore Halle Elliott will fill big voids both defensively and offensively.
The Athenians are also excited about the young versatile talent in sophomores Kira Thayer and Christen Saunders.
Kellerman also expects to get contributions from sophomore utility player Jessica Tribble, sophomore Jayda Roach along with sophomores Brooklyn Mills and Bailey Crane. Freshman Briley Dillon rounds out the roster.
The Athenians opened the season on Tuesday against Parke Heritage.
“We have kept our goals and expectations simple and consistent and our daily practice plans reflect that,” Kellerman said. “We expect them to come to practice every single day and work hard, compete and have fun. We work on the basic fundamentals of throwing, catching, fielding and base running every day we practice and we are seeing improvement in just two short weeks. They owe it to themselves and they owe it to their teammates to give 100% and to hold each other accountable.”