The Crusaders softball team captured the Regional championship in 2014.
By Joe Murphy
Scecina's spring sports teams are pumped up for this year's season. Here's a look at what to expect:
This year marks coach Dave Gandolph’s '68 second year with the team, and last year he won the Division III Regional Coach of the Year from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). His 2015 baseball squad is led by lone senior Jacob Cavanaugh and looks to attack the season with a much younger team than last year. After an impressive 17-8 season with a team made up of mostly seniors, the only returning varsity players this year are Cavanaugh and Sean Murphy. Cavanaugh believes last year’s experience on an older team taught him about leadership and he hopes to apply those lessons this spring. While the team is young, they bring back two varsity pitchers in Cavanaugh and Murphy. The team’s youthful bats should support the more experienced pitching staff this spring.
Led by seniors Julia Blastic, Gabi Leffler, and Taylor University-bound Justice Carmichael, the Crusaders are also a younger team coming back from a successful 2014 season in which the team went 20-7. Coach Cory Gray says what the team lacks in pitching experience, they more than make up for in offense and fielding. “This is one of the most offensively talented teams I’ve seen while I’ve been here,” Gray explains. The Crusaders were also able to field a junior varsity team for the first time in two years. The abundance of youth and offensive firepower suggest the team will be entertaining this season and in the years to come.
The team won the North Central Invitational on April 18.
The varsity track team already is off and running under veteran cross country and track coach Ryan Keen. They are led by seniors Nick Newhart, Brandon Schroedle, Alex Verbarg, and Alie Bachus along with many talented underclassmen runners on both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Keen is a long-time Crusader running coach and his experience should keep the team near the front of the pack at this year’s meets.
Conventional wisdom says that there is strength in numbers, and the 2015 Crusader Girls Tennis Team is proving that adage true in more than one way.
With 17 members, the white and cardinal clad throng is an impressive showing when they stride down the infamous Ellenberger Park hill toward their home courts. Their overall record through April 24 is 4-2 and they’re undefeated in conference play with wins over Beech Grove, Cardinal Ritter, and Lutheran.
Three seniors anchor the varsity lineup. They routinely model the mental toughness and physical strength it takes to persevere in a largely individual sport where a single match can last three hours or more. Andi Douthitt leads the team at No. 1 singles. Her overall record is 4-2, including a win over Beech Grove where she came from behind 7-5; 6-0. Abby Crump commands the No. 2 singles position with an overall record of 4-2. In a three-set marathon against Ritter, she came from behind to triumph 6-4; 5-7; 6-3. Carrie Gao completes the singles lineup at No. 3 with an overall record of 3-3. In her most outstanding match to date, though it did not result in a win, she forced her Lutheran opponent to a 2½- hour, three-set challenge, demonstrating to her underclass teammates the fortitude a demanding match can inspire.
The varsity team is rounded out by No. 1 doubles team Nicole Fowler and Desiree Carney and No. 2 doubles Libby Joson and Molly Griffin. The junior varsity team is Summer Li, Montavia Rowley, Danielle Lawson, Mary Grace Cummins, Sophie Meagher, Judy Zhang, Valerie Thibo, Tasha Richardson, Bailey Hope, and Denni Riley. Coach Angie Therber looks forward to conference, city, and sectional tournaments as well as finishing out the regular season with a winning record.
Coach Ott Hurrle begins the spring portion of his coaching year with the Boys Varsity Golf team after winning the 2014 Power of Influence Award. Hurrle hopes to bring the same fire and mentoring experience to this year’s bunch of golfers.
This year Crusader team is led by seniors Luke Frain, Connor Griffin, and Jake Okerson. Coach Pam Brake (also the head of the women’s team) oversees the relatively new program.
For team schedules, click here.
Posted on Tue, April 21, 2015
by Beth Murphy