PILLAGER -- The Pillager Huskies baseball team is hoping to ride the success of its football and basketball seasons.
Last year the baseball Huskies were 1-13 and 1-9 in the Park Region Conference. Despite another young team, second-year coach Jerry Fornshell is hoping that athleticism will be more important than experience.
"This is a team of mostly sophomores and juniors," said Fornshell. "But this is a great bunch of kids."
Junior Lee Roberts (P/SS) was an all-conference selection last year. Catcher/infielder Eric Fornshell batted .370 as a freshman. Kylie Skeesick (INF/P) hit .360 last year.
Baseball coach -- Jerry Fornshell, 2nd year
2000 finish -- 1-13 overall, 1-9 in Park Region Conference
Assistant coaches -- Pete Bothun
Softball coach -- Shelby Henderson, 1st year
2000 finish -- 0-12 overall
Assistant coaches -- Penny Dobson, Chris Berent
Track coach -- James Bentson (boys) 2nd year, Holly Cervin (girls) 2nd year
Assistant coach -- Terry Hollingsworth, Marty Chisholm
Pillager has 10 returning letterwinners from last year, but none of them are seniors. Aaron Anderson (INF), Charlie Bement (OF/INF), Skipper LaPorte (OF) and Joel Gaalswyk (INF) are the other returning juniors while Travis Buckingham (OF) and Luke Gaalswyk (INF) are returning sophomores.
Additional varsity candidates: -- Seniors - Mitch Wyffels (INF), Eric Pook (INF); Juniors - Jeff Eastman (1B/P), Jeff Pace (OF); Sophomores -- Tony Mason (P/INF); Freshman - Thomas Buckingham (INF), Dan Walkowiak (INF), Dusty Karppinen (OF), Sean Mileski (INF), Jason Eastman (OF/INF).
Shelby Henderson is the third Pillager Huskies softball coach in three years.
This is her first varsity coaching job and she inherits a team a team with six returning letterwinners and a strong group of freshman.
The Huskies' infield looks all but set in stone as second baseman Samantha Sullivan, first baseman Heather McCulley and shortstop Kali Hoheisel return.
Amorette Borst is the only returning outfielder while catcher Becki Kadus and pitcher Pamela Lease also return. Kadus is the only senior on the young squad that features nine freshmen vying for playing time.
Additional varsity candidates: -- Freshmen - Kristi Martin (2B), Sarah Mulroy (1B/OF), Whitney Hoheisel (SS/OF), Bridgette Wyffels (OF), Katie Rasinski (C) Laura Rahm (P) Sarah Heinrich (OF), Bobbie Carner (OF) Gretch Martin (P).
Boys' track and field
Second-year coach Jim Bentson is hoping his young athletes will bring considerable energy this spring.
With Eric Pook (400- and 200-meter, long jump) as the only senior, Bentson's underclassmen will have to step up.
Pillager has seven returning letterwinners with Pook, junior Steve Szczodroski (400, 800), sophomores Mark Gaalswyk (110-, 300-hurdles, pole vault), Robert Bethel (400, 200), Tony Szczodroski (shot put, discus) and freshman Luke Kavanaugh (hurdles, high jump), Eric Disterhaupt (distance).
Steve Bethel (sprints, shot put) and Jeff Pace (sprints, triple jump) round out the Huskies' roster.
Girls' track and field
With only seven girls on the roster the Huskies' girls' track and field team will concentrate on individual performances rather than team points this year.
Second-year coach Holly Cervin will rely on young athletes. Melanie Buckenhueskes (hurdles, dashes) is the only senior.
As a seventh-grader Jenna Niggeler placed sixth in the triple jump at subsections and tied the school record by pole vaulting 5 feet, 6 inches. Freshmen Krista McGuire (shot put, dashes) and Ellie Ostendorf (high jump, relays) round out the returning letterwinners.
Seventh-graders Kelley Kavanaugh (distance), Brianna Hoheisel (hurdles, vault) and Laura Pace (hurdles, triple jump, relay) are also on the squad.
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