HAMILTON — Hamilton High School softball coach Steve Heckman admits he has to temper his enthusiasm this spring.
Heckman has seen it all in his 26 years as coach of the Big Blue, and he can’t hide his emotions when he talks about his sophomore class.
The Big Blue finished 9-15 overall and 6-12 in the always rugged Greater Miami Conference last year, but Heckman said this group has the potential to give HHS its first winning season since 2016.
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Hamilton has surrounded senior standouts Mya Halcomb and Hailey Reynolds with 10 sophomores, and Heckman said the future is bright for the Blue.
“I really have to work on expecting too much at times,” Heckman said. “But this sophomore group, as a group, have made it a goal to get us turned around. They are hungry and have us moving in the right direction.”
HHS graduated pitcher Autumn Griffie, but Halcomb is a first-team GMC selection at shortstop and Reynolds returns at catcher.
Halcomb hit .493 with three homers and 23 RBIs last year, and Heckman said she and Reynolds couldn’t be better leaders for his young team.
“It is huge,” Heckman said of the impact of his seniors. “They lead by example and show the girls ‘this is how it is done.’ The thing we are missing is experience, but we have the talent.”
Sophomore Mallory Davis will take over the pitching duties and get assistance from freshman Abby Weschler.
“I feel good about our pitching,” Heckman said. “They are young, but they are hard workers and will continue to get better. Both of them are going to be OK.”
While Halcomb has shortstop locked down, the Big Blue will be young at the other infield spots.
Sophomores Ashlynn Falk and Danielle Hilton will share time at first, while sophomore Lilli Hilsercop will bat second and hold down second base. Freshman Julie Tegeder will play third.
Heckman said Hilsercop and Tegeder are really good athletes who will both be good ones to watch over the next three or four years.
“We will be young and have growing pains, but we will be good,” Heckman said. “They are going to do some things that I will throw my hands up over, but they will be going hard while they make the mistake. This group is hungry and always plays hard.”
The GMC is generally well represented at the Division I state tournament and this year should be no different, according to Heckman.
“Our league is so tough,” Heckman said. “East, West, Mason, and Middletown has the pitcher of the year. Everyone has talent and aces. There are no freebies.
“I am not sure how we will do league-wise, but this is good group to be around. We are on the right path. I am looking forward to what this sophomore class can accomplish.”
HHS opens the season March 23 at Fairborn.
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