Last season, it wasn’t until late May that the University High School softball team really found itself.
The team would start a game strong, but a bad inning or two would derail their momentum. This was due in part to inexperience; last year’s team was full of new players, and there were no seniors to lead or unify them.
By the time sectionals began, the Trailblazers had it figured out. They were competing for games and surprising their opponents.
“Toward the end of our season last year, things were starting to get really exciting,” said senior Jenny Bruemmer. “We were getting so much better. The games we were playing were fun to watch and fun to play. And we were making outs and getting out of innings too.”
Building On Their Momentum
At their home opener tonight, this year’s University High School softball team hopes to pick up where they left off last season.
Their new practice plan will help with that. With more experienced players on the team this year, the focus is now on improving skills rather than acquiring them. Co-Coaches Maddy MacAllister and Mike Klemsz have brought in expert resources to help with specific aspects of the game.
“The baseball coaches have been helping us a lot, and we’ve used Roundtripper [where the team’s home field is located] specialists to help too,” said senior Maggie Klemsz. “One of them has been helping us more with pitching, one has been helping us more with fielding, and one has done batting. We’re focusing on how you actually hold your glove when you ground a ball, and how you’re supposed to turn so you can be more efficient – little things like that.”
Strong Senior Leadership
Senior leadership will help with that too. Of the 11 players on this year’s team, four are seniors – Bruemmer, Klemsz, Lucy Bodem, and Annabelle Lance. These four seniors have played together since they were freshmen, which is unique for University High School sports, and they all bring something different to the team.
“Lucy Bodem can hit the snot out of a ball,” said MacAllister. “She’s a really, really good hitter. Maggie is kind of the rock of the team; she’ll do anything we ask her to do. Jenny and Annabelle are just outstanding athletes in general. Jenny probably will catch a little for us, and Annabelle will pitch some and play anywhere she needs to for us. They’re all really strong hitters, and they’re solid athletes too.”
“I think we [the four seniors] bring a lot of encouragement and a lot of positivity to the team, because we’re all still learning and growing,” added senior Annabelle Lance. “And we’re always helping the younger players with things like fielding techniques and other things that we as players have overcome ourselves.”
A Well-Rounded Roster
The seniors aren’t the only ones responsible for the team’s success, though; the new players will round out the team’s small but well-rounded roster.
“We have three freshmen this year – Annie Klemsz, Abby Martin, and Elise Nachlis. Abby is a pitcher, and she has a lot of experience pitching, so that’s something that’s new to our team. We usually have to teach girls how to pitch, but she came to us already knowing how to pitch.”
The team also includes four sophomores – Aiyana Bruemmer-Gambles and returning players Lillian Klemsz, Meredith Malott, and Lydia Copeland.
The combination of experienced players and newcomers have the coaches excited about the season to come. The goal they keep coming back to? To win.
“I’m excited for this season,” said MacAllister. “I think that we have a new focus, and the seniors are really doing an excellent job leading. I think that we’ll be able to win a couple of games this year.”
The softball team’s first game of the season is Monday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. versus Greenwood Christian Academy. Their home field is at Roundtripper Sports Academy in Westfield (16708 Southpark Dr, Westfield, IN 46074).