By: John Raffel
Frankenmuth expects to have another strong season
Frankenmuth Coach – Brad Walraven is in his 40th year coaching varsity softball)
Tri Valley East Conference
"Not many highlights in 2018. The prior year we made it to the Regional finals but last year lost to the District Champion, Swan Valley 1-0. We started out well last year but faded down the stretch and ended with a 25-13 record. Highlight was defeating Division 4 finalist USA.
"Key players for 2019. Kaylee Kujat, SS. 4 year starter who broke the school record last year for hits in a season. Kaylee will continue her softball career playing softball at SVSU. Kaylee is the key to our offense batting in the lead off position. Kaylee batted .475 in 2017. When her high school career is over, she will either be number one or close to it in many of the offensive categories for seasonal and career records.
"Emily Coulter, P 3B Emily has made an impact in our program coming over as a sophomore. She has been the #1 pitcher for the last two years and is expected the same this year. Emily will continue her softball career playing for Northwood next year. Emily has batter over .400 her first two years out of the 3 spot in the lineup. One of Emily’s strengths is she rarely strikes out and puts the ball in play. When you bat over .400 with few strike outs, is usually the recipe for offensive success.
Claire Breinager, 1B. Cleanup batter who broke out last year offensively and defensively. Led the team in home runs last year including twice hitting two home runs in a game. Claire is always smiling and keeps the team loose but at the same time is very competitive once the first pitch is thrown. Expected to continue to pick up her pace from the 2018 season.
"Others, Kylie Wilson, Catcher, dealing with an injury currently and will not start the season because of it. We will miss her defense but mostly from the offensive side. Power hitting catcher who bats in the 5th spot. We are hoping to get her back for the second half of the season.
Anna Smith, CF 2B. Will start the season in CF. Covers a lot of ground and has taken ownership in leading our outfielders.
Tara Keller, RF, Was not a starter in 2018 but won the job midway during the season and became one of our best outfielders.
Brooklin Karwat, 2B CF Junior who has been a starter her first two years. Starting CF last year but will be moved to 2B to start the season. Very athletic who can play many positions and be able to play them well. Ready to breakout offensively this year who has good speed to be able to steal double digit bases this year.
Expectations this year will be to improve upon our record of last year. Some of those losses were due to many defensive breakdowns and too many strikeouts offensively. Preseason practices have been used to improve on those areas.
Team’s strength will be experience losing only one player from last year. Girls seemed to be more comfortable this year. With a tough schedule, we may not improve upon our win total from last year but should be competitive in more ball games.Our bunting got away from us last year so that was something we worked on plus more defensive drills. Our conference will be led again by Millington. They are just so strong from top to bottom in the lineup and have the tools to win it all in division 3 this year. Garber will be tough again. I see us in the middle of the pack but making it tough for the conference teams to get a win against us. It will be interesting in the early season to see how we will compete as we will take on Freeland, Garber (conference) and Shepherd in 6 of the first 8 games. "