Local Sports Journal

Five starters graduated off last season’s girls softball team at Western Michigan Christian.

But Coach Jeff Nestell believes his Lady Warriors are in for a solid season in 2013.

“We lost five starters to graduation, but we have a great group of juniors that are leading this team with hard work,” Nestell said. “Mix in some underclassmen that are quick learners and that makes for an exciting season.”

Pitcher Anna Sweetman, who gave up basketball to concentrate on pitching, will be a team leader for the Warriors, which 6-16 a year ago. The addition of a pitching coach also is paying dividends.

Other key players include Ariana Brondyke, Sara Katje, Lorelle Hallenbeck and Emilee Pell. Hallenbeck and Pell will share the catching and shortstop duties.

Top newcomers include Carly Poel, Jerra Cooper, Lydia Hanes and Elizabeth Pell, all of whom will factor into the success of the team.

“Our theme this year is Faith Family Fun Fight Finish,” Nestell said. “The first three we did last year and now we are adding in that we need to fight through to the end of the game and ultimately finish the games with confidence.”