The 2014 Maranatha women’s softball roster is filled with athleticism and the opportunity for success. “We have a lot of very young, athletic players this year,” remarks eight-year head coach Rob Thompson. “Although there are a lot of unknowns entering the season, I am excited about the girls’ work ethic, as well as the leadership already demonstrated by our returners.”
These key returners primarily include the only two upper classmen for this year’s Crusader squad, senior Rosa Lewis and junior Emily Thompson. Lewis (Yates City, IL), a four-year player who has started each of her past three seasons, will continue her role as a utility infielder, while also taking on some pitching responsibilities for the Crusaders. “Rosa will be a key player for us this year,” states Thompson. “She will probably bat fourth in the line-up in order to utilize her hitting power, and her leadership both on and off the field will be very important for our young team.” Emily Thompson (Watertown, WI) will return as a starter and the anchor of the outfield for this year’s team. “Emily will be our centerfielder this year as well as our lead-off hitter. Her ability to bunt, get on base, and then steal bases will really help to jumpstart our offense,” says Coach Thompson.
Returning along with these upperclassmen are sophomores Samantha Swiatek, Emily Boogher, and Amy Dineen. Swiatek (Walled Lake, MI) will be the primary catcher, and will also get her chance at pitching throughout the season. Boogher (York, PA) brings the most experience out of high school to the team, and will positively impact the Crusaders with her defensive skill at shortstop and powerful hitting. Dineen (Great Valley, NY) will return as the starting first basemen for the Crusaders.
The eight remaining spots on this year’s roster are all made up of freshmen and sophomores who come in as first year college softball players. These eight players include Grace VanDeLinde, Bridgett Taylor, Kelli Fox, Heather White, Emily Hinsenkamp, Randi Jaqua, Megan Leaf, and Miranda Berry, all of whom snagged positive recognition in the early parts of pre-season. VanDeLinde (Milanville, PA), Fox (Matthews, NC) and White (Watertown, WI) show a lot of promise in the batting cage, while Taylor (West End, NC) looks to bring a solid glove to the infield. Fox, White, and Hinsenkamp (Harrison Twp, MI) are good athletes in other Maranatha sports, and are learning to use their athleticism to help the Crusader softball team this season.
The schedule for this year’s team promises to be one of the best travel schedules for the Crusaders in a long time. “So far we have seven doubleheaders at home and four doubleheaders in Milwaukee. We’re thankful we don’t have to travel too far this season to play in games where it appears that we can really compete with our opponents,” states Thompson. After a season last year that took the team to the surrounding areas of Chicago for more than half of their games, the 2014 Crusader squad is looking forward to twenty-seven regular season games that will take place primarily in the southeastern region of Wisconsin.
The goals of this year will be built upon the same four principles that Coach Thompson seeks to integrate into every season that he dons a Crusader cap. “First and foremost I want our girls to grow in their relationships with the Lord,” says Thompson. “This includes working hard at attaining academic success, as well as looking for opportunities for ministry throughout the softball season. Finally, we want to work to become better softball players. Whether we win or lose, our play and testimony needs to honor the Lord both on and off the field. Yes, we want to be very competitive and put ourselves into positions where we can win, but that always comes after our primary goal of seeking to honor and glorify the Lord in everything we do.”