By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Things are a bit different this season for the Tonawanda softball team. The Lady Warriors are returning 10 varsity players, but 26-year coach Jay Hall retired at the end of last season.
Three-year JV coach Kim Fox has taken over and, unlike most new coaches, already has a solid understanding of her team.
”I coached all but two of these girls on JV, so I’ve already gotten to know them,” she said. “It’s not day one when I started in March because I got to know them before. … It was nice to work with Jay and hear the stories where he’s been throughout the past 26 years. It’s different taking over instead of having him be here.”
The Lady Warriors won 10 games last season and Fox is hoping the collection of talent and the team’s experience will help the it do even better in 2013.
Sophomore pitcher Rachel Allen is the backbone of the Lady Warriors, Fox said. She was a second team All-ECIC IV selection last season and has been on varsity since she was in seventh grade.
She won nine games last season, posted a 2.01 ERA and notched 100 strikeouts. Fox said that without Allen things would be a lot more difficult.
”I’m still getting to know her as a pitcher,” Fox said of Allen, who never played for Fox on JV. “I can only talk about seeing her a few games in the past, but she works really hard. She pitches a lot in the offseason and she really takes charge out there when it’s her turn. The girls really rely on her and count on her to pitch a good game and throw hard every game. For the most part she does.”
Fox has inherited a ton of leadership at the top of her lineup card. Danielle Palladino will lead off and play third base, Alex Moore is at shortstop and in the two-hole and Joanna McCarthy will hit clean up and play first base.
”The three of them are awesome leaders and they work well together just as a whole and as a team,” Fox said. “I knew right away that those would be my three girls I would count on.”
Fox mentioned Moore specifically because of the way she commands respect and the way she interacts with her teammates.
”Alex Moore only played for me for a season and maybe a couple of games and then Jay took her up,” Fox said. “She is a huge leader and the girls really look up to her and she works hard every practice. She never misses a practice or a game. She is an amazing kid and a really great leader.”
Junior Alanna Herne bats third and plays center field, Allen bats fifth and Alex Tyler will be in the six spot and will play at her converted second base position.
Becca Toth will bat seventh and play right field, Maddie Oliver will be in left and hit eighth and Sydney Myers will catch and bat ninth.
Fox is excited to get the season going and has high expectations for her Lady Warriors.
”I think they can go really far and I’m hoping we will as well,” she said. “They really work well together. They talk well, they back each other up and support each other. Even if someone makes a mistake it’s about what we’re going to do next and how we can fix it. They’re very positive and have great attitudes.”