Veterans strengthen softball team

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Coach Dave Chapman predicts this year’s Englewood High School softball team will be stronger and more competitive.

“This is primarily the team we put on the field last season except for the two very good players we lost to graduation, shortstop Bree Klipka and second baseman Hayley Lansing,” Chapman said. “They were our up-the-middle defense, played well, and they will be hard to replace. But I feel there are players ready to step forward to fill those vacancies.”

The softball team began practice Aug. 12 and played their first game on the road Aug. 16 at Denver North. The Pirates were scheduled to be on the road Aug. 20 at Elizabeth and return home to play their first game on the new softball field Aug. 27 against Weld Central.

“This year is a milestone for our softball team because they will be playing home games on a field adjacent to the high school building,” Chapman said. “For our 16 seasons, the girls have had to get on a bus to go to practice or to play a home game at fields around Englewood. Now, the field will be a short walk from the school and that should be a plus for us.”

Chapman said the veteran-laden team should play solid defense and should hit the ball well.

“Everyone in the lineup hit pretty well last year. Returning letter winners who hit particularly well include Miranda Holman, Matty Smith and Dolly Ostrowsky,” the coach said. “I think we will be strong at the plate up and down the lineup so we should be able to get people on base and get them in to score.”

 The coach said he also was encouraged by the fact most of the athletes who will be on the team played for the Pirates team this summer that took runner-up honors in the league tournament.

Chapman said league play will again be tough this season. He said, like Englewood, Fort Lupton, Weld Central and Vista Peak have just about all their starters back, so all three teams should be competitive and battling for the top spot in the league.

“Elizabeth was a senior-heavy team last season, so they will be rebuilding, plus they have a new coach this season so they won’t be quite as strong,” he said. “Skyview will be OK and will battle every game they play.”

Chapman said he has 26 girls signed up for softball this season which means the Pirates will field a varsity team and and a junior varsity team. He said Tim Rasmussen, former Elizabeth JV coach, will coach the Pirates JV team this season.

He said he is encouraged that nine freshmen signed up to play softball this season and some of them have softball experience.