Bob Getka is cautiously optimistic about the 2021 high school softball season.
Janesville Parker’s head coach, bolstered by a strong senior-driven lineup, thinks his team has a chance at an upper division finish in the rugged Big Eight Conference.
Parker opens the season today against Beloit Memorial at the Youth Sports Complex, and Getka can’t wait for the Vikings to get back on the diamond for the first time in nearly two years.
“With COVID wiping out the season last year, there will be many teams that lack varsity experience,” Getka said. “That is not the case at Parker. We will be returning five players who were honorable mention or second-team all-conference selections as sophomores two years ago.
“This team has set its goals very high. Many of these young ladies have been pushing themselves to get ready for opening day for 2-plus years.”
The Vikings finished 12-12 overall in 2019, including a very respectable 11-7 in the Big Eight and a fourth-place finish.
Headlining the list or returnees are seniors Alexys Luek and Alli Rosga. Both were second-team all-conference selections in 2019 and were key contributors.
Luek, who recently signed to play basketball and softball collegiately at Kishwaukee College, is a three-year starter at catcher.
Rosga is back at shortstop, and should make the Vikings strong up the middle along with senior second baseman Lydia Quade, an honorable mention pick in 2019.
“That’s a good anchor on our infield with Rosga and Quade,” Getka said. “And Luek is an outstanding catcher.”
Jazz Demrow-Calvin, another honorable mention pick in 2019, moves from outfield to first base.
Sophomore Nariyah Lot has the inside track at third base.
Grace Williams is the leader in the outfield. The senior earned all-conference recognition in 2019, and once again opens up as the center fielder.
“She’ll patrol the outfield for us and do a great job,” Getka said.
“And overall, the depth of our team is so much improved from two years ago.”
Other outfield candidates are Macy Matijevich, Kailey Dobbs, Annie Barnes, Alyssa Ayers and Gentry Reed.
Pitching remains the biggest question mark for the Vikings. Sophomore Hannah Bolly gets the nod in today’s opener, but Lot and the freshman Reed will also see time on the bump.
“We can’t wait to get started and see what the season brings,” Getka said. “”We put a big stamp on our season two years ago when we beat the state runner-up in the last week of the season.
“With the work ethic, that our young ladies have and are showing, we are hoping that it will be our turn to make a deep run in the playoffs.”