FRANKLIN — After a one-year absence, Eric Spahr returns as coach of the Middletown Christian School softball team and likes what he sees so far.
The Eagles return eight players, and Spahr said this squad has the potential to be solid.
Competing in the Metro Buckeye Conference, MCS only played eight games a year ago. But Spahr, who coached the Eagles from 2014-2017, has scheduled a full slate this year.
PREP SOFTBALL SEASON PREVIEWS
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“We have a good mix of experienced girls and some girls who haven’t played before,” Spahr said, noting his team will field 13 players. “We have had years where we played with 10, so 13 is a good number for us.”
Sophomore Emmabelle Kittle, 1-3 a year ago, will be the No. 1 pitcher, but Spahr said seniors Alexis Wicker and Skyler Harmeyer, as well as freshman Sarah Spahr, will also see mound time.
“We have several girls who can pitch,” Eric Spahr said. “(Kittle) will be the ace, but we have some other girls we have confidence in. We just need to balance it and get the others up to speed.”
With 13 players total, Spahr preaches versatility.
Seeing time in the infield will be senior Skyler Harmeyer (.333 a year ago), who is one of the Eagles’ strongest hitters. Wicker is also a strong hitter who can play all four infield spots, according to Spahr.
Junior Faith Hergenrather hit .375 a year ago and senior Ashleigh Comer will help in both the outfield and infield.
Spahr said he has a couple of catchers. Junior Beau Pagnard and sophomore Brie Caldwell will share time behind the plate.
“We tell the girls they have to be flexible position-wise,” Spahr said. “All of them need to move around and play two, three, even four spots. “
Like most teams, the weather has hindered the Eagles’ ability to get outside, but Middletown Christian is fortunate to have a hitting machine in the gym.
“We have been hitting in the cage a lot,” said Spahr, joking. “If we played all our games in our gym, we would have a big home-field advantage.”
Spahr said the MBC is a hard conference to predict t as schools don’t always field teams from year to year, but he said the schedule this year has a good mix of schools.
“We have some really good teams which will be a good lesson for us,” Spahr said. “It is fair, but hard. We will be challenged.”
Filling out the roster for the Eagles: Juniors Anna Garrison and Brooke Blackwell, and freshman Kylie Davis.
Middletown Christian opens the season March 25 at Waynesville.