By BLAKE FAITH
The Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond softball team finished fourth in the IHSA State Tournament last year and held at one point an 18-game winning streak. Head Coach Jerry Lane is returning seven lettermen from last year to this year’s team.
Those seven lettermen include four-year starter senior Ryli Kauffman and senior Cheyenne Chupp who has been a starter for three-years. There are four juniors including Charley Condill, Alisha Frederick, Kaci Beachy and clean-up hitter Kailee Otto. The other letterman is sophomore Maddie Schweighart who will be relied on for a majority of the Knights’ pitching this season. Coach Lane expects all seven players to have huge contributions to this season’s team.
Coach Lane expects his leaders to take control and are good at showing the younger players what to do.
“The upperclassmen usually take very, very good control of the situation and helping younger ones to be able to progress whenever they first start playing softball,” Coach Lane said. “And so the sixc upeerclassmen that I’ve got are very outstanding as far as leading and helping and showing the younger ones what to do.”
Coach Lane said it feels good to be back to normalcy after a 2020 season cancellation and a restricted season in 2021. During the offseason, the team focused on hitting and fielding to work on.
Coach Lane says he and his team divide the season into three parts. The first part is the non-conference schedule that gets his team ready. The second part is the conference schedule where his team focuses on winning the Lincoln Prairie Conference. The third part is the state playoffs.
“I usually try to tell the girls we need to finish with a winning record in the non-conference games,” Coach Lane said. “Then, naturally, our goal is to win the conference and try to go undefeated there. For the postseason it’s just one game at a time and one loss you’re out. So we just build on it and just play one game at a time and get ready for the state tournament.”
Coach Lane wants the readers and community to know how hard his players work and that they are dedicated to their sport.
“Going to the state tournament last year and finishing fourth in the state was a very large step for the program, and created a lot of excitement,” Coach Lane said. “And that’s what the girls look forward to is playing in front of people who appreciate their efforts, and come out to basically follow them and hopefully we can perform well.”
The ALAH softball team began its season last week against Casey-Westerfield in a 4-0 loss. This week the team will face Shelbyville, St. Theresa, Heritage, Newton and Tolono Unity.