Lutheran North softball coach sees potential in this year’s team

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published April 12, 2019

 Macomb Lutheran North freshman infielder Reagan Ruatto makes a play April 9 against Madison Heights Bishop Foley. The Mustangs hope to win their first division title since 2010 and their first district championship since 2002.

Macomb Lutheran North freshman infielder Reagan Ruatto makes a play April 9 against Madison Heights Bishop Foley. The Mustangs hope to win their first division title since 2010 and their first district championship since 2002.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Last season, the Macomb Lutheran North softball team finished at 17-12 despite starting three freshmen and three sophomores.

There’s even more youth on this year’s squad, according to coach Duane Anger. The Mustangs feature seven freshmen on the roster, giving Anger his largest freshman contingent in 19 years with Lutheran North.

The youngsters are no strangers to the game. They all play some level of travel softball.

The team opened the season April 9 by splitting a doubleheader at Madison Heights Bishop Foley. The Mustangs — like most teams this time of year — are still working out the kinks, mainly due to inclement weather.

“It’s too early to really tell how the team has looked or will look,” Anger said, “but we do have a lot of work to do. It’s more about learning coverages and where to go with the ball, because most of (the players) are being taught multiple positions.”

It’s not too soon for Anger to know where the team could excel.

The coach said his outfield should be strong. The unit is led by junior Gwen Miller and sophomore Julia Zauel, who earned a spot on the 2018 Catholic High School League All-Catholic team.

Anger believes the infield is solid too. Senior captain and shortstop Grace Yeoman heads up that group. Sophomores Reese Shock and Lauryn Rhodea, and freshmen Emma Shannon, Reagan Ruatto and Liz Kandt could also give solid contributions.

Lutheran North has some depth at pitcher this season as well.

“We have never had more than one or two pitchers,” said Anger, who wants this year’s team to make a push for division and district titles. “This year, we have three girls who can pitch. (Junior) Jordyn Flemming carried the load for us last year. We’ve got two freshmen — Olivia Dryke and Cecilia Schihl — who can pitch pretty well.”

Behind the plate is where the Mustangs will have to improve as the season goes on. The team lost both of its catchers to graduation. Two freshmen — Anna Brouillette and Aly Kowalewski — and converted junior infielder Abby Thoms will all see time at catcher.

“Hitting is also an area where we need to improve,” Anger said. “Our team batting average last season was just .245. We need to improve on that number.

“If the girls develop quickly into their positions and learn to play instinctively, and we get better offensive play, we could have a very good season. One thing is for sure: This group of young players has the athleticism and potential to become a good team this season and a very good one in future seasons.”

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