With a lineup made up primarily of returning letter winners, Englewood softball coach Dave Chapman predicts he will have a strong, competitive team on the diamond this fall and should contend for the league title.
“We only had two seniors on last year's team and just about all of last season's underclassmen are expected back so we should be a solid team,” Chapman said. “We'll miss the talents of last season's seniors but most positions will be filled by returning veterans, and we have talented players who are joining us for the first time.”
The Pirates, entering their 20 season of softball in program history, started practice Aug. 11 and were scheduled to open the season on the road against league title contender Weld Central on Aug. 19.
Englewood's first home game of the season was slated for Aug. 21 against Vista Peak. Up next, the Pirates play a non-league home game at 10 a.m. Aug. 23 against Evergreen. The schedule then calls for the team to travel to Fort Lupton Aug. 26 and return home Aug 28 against Skyview.
Chapman said the strength of the team will likely be hitting, and when the team is on defense, the No. 1 pitcher will be two-year letter winner Brittany Hall, and Maddie Smith, also a returning letter winner, will be behind the plate.
Dolly Ostrowski returns at first base for the Pirates and Kasandra Wallach returns at shortstop. Wallach was selected as runner-up for league player of the year last fall. Chapman said newcomer Tayler Garibay will be the starter at third base. Wallach and Garibay both are expected to see some time on the mound.
“About our only weakness is our small roster,” the coach said. “We had 25 sign up for the team but we have had 20 players at practice and only one player is a freshman. With 20 players, fielding a junior varsity team will be touch and go. We really need more players because we are a senior-dominated team and it is important to have a junior varsity team to get the younger players experience to prepare them to play varsity next season.”
This will be the first season the team will practice and play at a softball field adjacent to the high school, as they will call the recently constructed field in the Hosanna Sports Complex home. The newly built field is east of the Harry Wise baseball field.
“This is a nice softball field,” Chapman said. “The dugouts are nice and I believe it is a plus that we have a home field adjacent to the high school. The field is easy walking distance from the school and more students might come to watch. Also, for the last few years we have been bused to Brent Mayne Field at Centennial Park for home games. It sort of made it feel like every game was a road game.”
Weekday games at Englewood High School begin at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday games start at 10 a.m. The games are open to the public and there is no charge for admission.