St. Frederick appears to be on the brink of a softball resurgence. Coming off of their first playoff victory since 2003, the Lady Warriors return six starters along with some promising young talent.
A new coach will at the helm this season following the recent retirement of Michael Johnston. Tim Judd, who doubles as the boys’ soccer coach, was appointed as Johnston’s successor. Assistant ShirleyVoss is in charge of the summer program.
Pitcher Dani Roa (10-8, 1 save) and Lauren Petrus (.484, 8 HR, 24 RBI), a pair of first-team All-District 2-1A honorees, were among the Lady Warriors’ four graduating seniors.
Riley Houser and Ellie Loftin are among a long line of candidates vying to replace Roa in the circle.
“Riley Houser has really stepped up,” Voss said. “She is throwing in the low 50s, and has improved by leaps and bounds.”
Sarah Grace Loftin, who clubbed 11 home runs in the spring, pitched early in the year prior to an arm injury. Also getting a look are eighth-grader Victoria Gray, freshman Isabella Moore and seventh-grader Abigail Creighton.
Liz Elliot and Graycee Hill are the projected catchers.
“Liz and Graycee both played last year,” Voss said. “Graycee can play just about anywhere.”
Three-fourths of the infield returns in senior first baseman Rachel Wood, second baseman Piper Yarbrough and shortstop Ellie Loftin, with Nadia Williams taking over at third. Yarbrough hit .338 with a pair of home runs and 20 RBIs last year as an eighth-grader, while Ellie Loftin accounted for a .466 batting average, 11 home runs and 36 RBIs as a freshman.
Pashonnay Johnson is expected to hold down center field after helping with the catching last year. Hill is also being tried in center field.
“Pashonnay will play more shortstop and in the outfield this year to save her knees,” Voss said. “She’s a good utility player and is also a great basketball player for St. Frederick.”
Brooke Pholman and Katy Kincaid are in the mix in left field with Emery Carr and Samantha Roy in right.