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ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak Shrine softball coach Tony Smith believes it’s just a matter of time before his squad starts showing its true potential.
“This team gets better and better all the time, so if we can get the games in, I think we’ll do fine,” Smith said. “We have to jell. This is a brand-new team working together.”
At press time, the Knights were 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the Catholic High School League Intersectional Division.
Smith noted that the record doesn’t reflect the true nature of his team, with two of the losses coming from a forfeit and two others to teams much larger than his squad.
The Knights are also inexperienced, with one returning starter in junior Emma Licholat and eight total players who were on the defending division championship team last season. Half of the roster is filled with sophomores and freshmen.
Licholat led the team in batting average last season and is doing it again thus far, hitting over .500.
“She just wants to hit the ball, and hard,” Smith said. “She doesn’t want to get a walk. She wants to be a hitter, so she puts the ball in play.”
Licholat captains the team, along with seniors Meredith Lee and Victoria Armenio.
The trio agrees with their coach that the best is still to come.
“We know what we’re capable of doing. We knew it would be hard, because we lost a lot of girls last year, but we try not to let that affect us,” Licholat said.
“We have a lot of new people that have never played softball before, and they’re stepping up. It’s awesome,” Lee added.
Smith said the team has shown promise at the plate and in the field.
“We haven’t played much to figure out who we are, but we’re doing some good things,” the coach said. “We’ve had three or four double plays, which is pretty unheard of in softball when the bases are only 60 feet.”
Working inside the circle is sophomore Emma Beaudoin. She is, in a way, embodying the growth of the Knights.
“She’s been working really hard at it. She didn’t get much of a chance to pitch last season, if any, but she gets better and better all the time,” Smith said.
Catch Shrine against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in a doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. May 8 on the road.