Ferndale High softball ready to start season with young roster

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published April 5, 2011

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FERNDALE — Ferndale High softball coach Anthony Smith keeps it simple.

“We always set goals,” he said during practice March 31. “I tell the kids every time we step on the field, we’re there to win the game — I don’t care who we’re playing. That is our goal.”

Last season, Smith’s first with the program, the Eagles did their share of winning with a senior-laden squad, finishing 8-6 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division and 14-17 overall.

“As a group, they’re coming together very well,” Smith said of this year’s team. “As a team, there’s a lot of work. I’d say it’s definitely a rebuilding year, especially since I have only three seniors.

“So it’s kind of backwards from last year. Last year, I had eight seniors. This year, I have eight freshmen. So, they kind of took their place.”

Sophomore Hannah Reiter is the lone returning starter. Last season, she saw most of her time at second base. This year, she’ll be behind the plate.

Reiter captains the team with seniors Danielle Nash (second base) and Dea Closson (first base), and junior Hannah Carney (pitcher and third base).

“Normally, I would only appoint seniors as captains, but I feel very strongly about (Reiter) and Hannah Carney. I couldn’t not make them captains,” Smith said. “Both will be leaders on the field.”

Reiter admits there is pressure taking on a leadership role as a sophomore, but she’s ready for the challenge.

“I’m trying to just have fun and set a good example for all the other girls,” she said. “I’m trying to do what I can for the team.”

Despite the lack of experience, Smith believes the Eagles can again make waves in the division.

“I think this team has a really good bond, and I think that’s going to help them,” he said. “They’ll take care of each other, which is really important, too.”

Smith said he enjoys the challenge of molding a young squad.

“You can really see the growth of these players,” he said. “You can see it in their faces, too. They get a kick out of it too, and we always encourage them and point out the growth that they’ve had. It’s a lot of fun.”

Reiter said having fun is the key to success, and the team is already taking strides toward getting better.

“We do have a lot of new girls, but there’s been a lot of improvement in the last two weeks that we’ve been doing this already, so I’m really looking forward to the season,” she said. “I can’t imagine what’s going to happen next.”

Catch the Eagles against Oak Park High in a doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. April 11 at home.

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