Janesville37.7°

Parker softball coach has sights on improvement

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THOMAS J. MILLER
April 2, 2010
— Last year’s Janesville Parker High School softball season did not go exactly how first-year coach Jenni Seisser had planned.

The young Vikings lost 22 of their 23 games. Several one-run losses created frustration among the players.


But like the sunny weather conditions, this year’s outlook is much brighter.


“Now I know the girls,” Seisser said after her team scrimmaged Lake Geneva Badger on Thursday. “We’re a better team in terms of hitting.”


The Vikings are all juniors, except for sophomore Natalie McDonald, who will start at shortstop when Parker opens its regular season Saturday at Dawson Field with a 10 a.m. game against Milton, followed by a game against Fort Atkinson.


The top of the order will feature speed.


Center fielder Lauren Brooks will lead off. Brooks is hampered by a medical condition, but she was able to play in the scrimmage Thursday.


“Last season she struggled with an elbow injury,” Seisser said. “She came around for us toward the end of the year.


“She has speed she doesn’t know what to do with,” the coach said. “She is an excellent bunter from the left side.”


First baseman Amanda Harvey likely will follow Brooks in the batting order.


“I see her in the same way as Brooks,” Seisser said of the left-handed Harvey. “She’s going to be successful in getting the bunt down.”


McDonald is pegged for the No. 3 spot.


“She’s a good contact hitter,” Seisser said. “She puts the ball in play.”


McDonald also gives Seisser a solid shortstop.


“Last year we didn’t have a true shortstop, along with a couple of other position players,” Seisser said. “She has excellent range and a strong arm.”


Catcher Alyssa Byford will bat cleanup. Seisser said she worked to make Byford’s stance more upright last season, but the player often reverted back to old habits. That has changed.


“She really turned on one (in the scrimmage),” Seisser said. “It was a solid triple.”


Third baseman prospects Kylee Meehan and Lindsey Clauer, or right fielder Leah Champion—who is coming back off of a concussion—will alternate filling the No. 5 and 6 spots in the batting order.


Second baseman Cierra Carney, who came up to the varsity for the regional tournament last year, will bat seventh.


Whoever is pitching, Ashlie Ross or Maggie Tracey, will bat eighth, with left fielder Jackie Ludois set for the No. 9 spot.


Ludois also is a left-handed batter who can bunt.


Seisser likely will alternate Ross and Tracey as starting pitchers in the early season.


Seisser looks for better things out of her still young team.


“Knowing all the girls opens up a lot more options,” she said. “Last year we were so young that sometimes mentally we weren’t there. It’s a process.”


Parker’s schedule, with home games at Dawson Field:

APRIL: 3—Milton, 10 a.m.; Fort Atkinson, following first game; 6—Madison East, 4:30 p.m.; 7—at Hononegah, 4:30 p.m.; 8—at Madison West, 5 p.m.; 12—Verona, 4:30 p.m.; 14—at Sun Prairie, 4:30 p.m.; 16—Janesville Craig, 4:30 p.m.; 20—at Madison La Follette, 4:30 p.m.; 22—Madison Memorial, 4:30 p.m.; 24—at Middleton, 10 a.m., noon; 27—at Beloit Memorial, 4:30 p.m.; 29—at Madison East, 4:30 p.m.


MAY: 4—Madison West, 4 p.m.; 5—Lake Geneva Badger, 4 p.m.; 7—at Verona, 5 p.m.; 11—Sun Prairie, 4 p.m.; 14—at Janesville Craig, 4 p.m.; 18—Madison La Follette, 4 p.m.; 20—at Madison Memorial, 5 p.m.; 25—Beloit Memorial, 4 p.m.



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