Softball prepares for season

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
IVC varsity softball coach Josh Clarke oversees base running drills Friday. DeLaney Coats practices her catching while Taylor Kimble makes the bolt for home base.

The IVC varsity softball team is ready to hit the field.

Like most of the high school sports in the area, the Lady Grey Ghosts have been fighting the weather to get outside for practices but coach Josh Clarke said that they are making the best with what they have.

The girls were able to make it out to the front lawn Friday for practice but the field is still not ready to be played on.

“There’s some things that are a little unrealistic, obviously infield dirt and stuff like that but it is nice to get my outfielders an opportunity to work,” Clarke said.

Clarke said he focuses on fielding and defensive plays when outside because the girls still have access to batting practice inside the nets at the high school.

Defense on the field will be a main concern for Clarke and his varsity team for the season.

“The one thing that I’m trying to stress early on is that it’s great to put up big numbers, but for me as a coach, I would rather win a game by shutting them down and holding our opponent to no runs or one or two runs than out slug a team,” Clarke said.

In the 2013 season the Lady Grey Ghosts went 9-19.

Returning starter pitcher Alayna King finished last season with 31 strikeouts and went 5-8.

Offensively, IVC totaled for 223 hits and 131 runs scored.

Megan Connor will return as a leader in runs with 21. She led in hits with 34, had nine doubles and led with 22 RBIs.

Amanda Bowen had two of the 10 home runs scored by IVC last season.

The Lady Grey Ghosts will have two players enter the season with injuries. Candis Rudolph and Hannah Williamson are making steps towards full recovery Clarke said.

“We’re really going to look to our underclassmen to fill some big shoes ,not just from losing those two to injuries but from the starters that we lost last year,” Clarke said.

Underclassmen will do their part on the field, but the seniors have been making progress in leading the way.

“I’ve been really happy with my seniors stepping up and showing the younger ones the way how things go here,” Clarke said.

“It’s one thing when the coach harps on them about a play but its another when a player picks up the slack and pushes on to another one of her teammates.”

The softball team will not play in a conference this year, but with IVC joining the Corn Belt for 

the 2014-15 school year, Clarke said he will look to add some of its teams to the schedule.

CB games scheduled for this season are Eureka, March 28, and Bloomington Central Catholic, May 9.

The Lady Grey Ghosts are scheduled to open the season with three consecutive home games. They will face El Paso at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Illini Bluffs at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Eureka at 4:15 p.m. Friday. IVC will travel to Canton on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.