New Coach, Same Success Expected For Peshtigo Softball
First year Peshtigo head softball coach Tom Christensen is familiar with the varsity roster he has been handed and expects to win a fair share of ball games while continuing on with the tradition of smart play the team is used to under former coach Kim Barrette.
Its as simple as that.
This is my seventh year with the program, really, said Christensen, who is coming up to varsity after leading the schools JV team for the last six seasons. Obviously, Ive helped develop a lot of the girls that are now playing varsity ball. I feel good about where the program is right now. They know my style of coaching and theyre familiar with the way I do things.
When it comes to coaching philosophy, Christensen uses just one word to sum up his approach: fundamentals.
Christensen believes that a fundamentally sound team that can make the routine plays and is skilled and well practiced in throwing, catching and hitting will be in contention every game it plays. As Christensen says, three quarters of the action in a game happens in the infield and if his team is able to handle the ball in the infield, theyll be in most games.
Christensen began playing ball, like any other kid does, at about nine years old. When he was 16, he started to develop a knack for fast pitch softball and never looked back.
Christensen, who is originally from Green Bay, has been coaching high school ball since 2000, where he was guiding the DePere freshman squad. Four years later, he inched north a bit to coach the JV team at Green Bay East before retiring to his familys summer cottage, where he hooked up with the Bulldogs in 2007 as the coach of the junior varsity program, where he also assisted with the varsity team.
Now with the varsity reigns in his hands, Christensen is ready to begin the next chapter in his coaching career and hes genuinely looking forward to it.
If only Mother Nature felt like cooperating.
It doesnt look much like spring outside as the 2013 softball season was supposed to kick off more than a week ago on the road against Southern Door. A few cancellations later, including the April 2 home clash against Niagara are postponed.
This ought to be making things difficult for a first year head coach who stresses fundamentals. His team hasnt yet played on grass this season. But Christensen, with the help of the schools ample facilities, is making the most out of the situation.
If we were the only team that wasnt able to practice right now, Id be real nervous, Christensen joked. Getting out onto the field as soon as possible will be key but at this point, nobody has an advantage. But were indoors working hard in close quarters. We have an opportunity to work on becoming more of a fundamentally sound team and our pitchers are getting a lot of quality time inside throwing.
The batting cages are indoors and the gym is big enough to run a full scale infield. It gets a little tough for the outfield to be confined to a low ceiling but Christensen and his crew are coming up with ways to get around the ugly weather thats kept a lid on green playing fields.
Actually just (Friday) for the first time, my assistant, Lee Mylener, had a couple of the outfielders out in the parking lot hitting fly balls to them. We had a late practice (6-8PM) so while we still had some light, he wanted to get some of the outfielders outside, more like the real thing. They were glad to be outside for a change, taking a few real fly balls.
The team will naturally be pretty anxious to get onto the diamond once the slow exit of winter has wrapped up and sunshine starts to make an appearance in northeastern Wisconsin. But the delayed start to the 2013 campaign doesnt change anything about Christensens approach or focus. Fans can expect to see a team in contention for the conference crown.
Were going to have a traditional Bulldog team out there this season, coach Christensen said. Were going to play every inning, every out. We wont quit and hopefully well give the people in the stands a quality high school game. We want to keep the tradition of winning going but we also want step one to be bringing the M-O title back home.
Bulldogs Return 6
Starters, Eye Title
First year head coach Tom Christensen will enjoy the return of six of last seasons starters to the 2013 roster, one that will feature a lot of experience as the Peshtigo team looks to build on last seasons successful marks of 7-3 in conference and 12-8 overall.
Coach Christensen, whose six years as the Bulldogs jayvee head coach gives him a leg up as far as familiarity with the team goes, has five seniors on this years team with Shannen Ganter, Taylor Romenesko, Abbi Fredrickson, Jennifer Harris and Miranda Latimer all returning from last years team.
Also back from last years group are juniors Mazie Reif, who will see a lot of work on the mound following the loss of her sister, Bobbie, to graduation, and Dani Zahn, who will be behind the plate playing catcher for Peshtigo.
Sophomore Carlee Mylener will be on the mound hurling as needed while playing a lot of infield. There are also three other juniors looking to make the jump from junior varsity and contribute on the big team in Jaden Russell, Kelly Staudenmaier and Danielle Sparks.
Rangers Must Fill Holes
To Have M-O Success
The Wausaukee Rangers return to the field this year after a 10-0 run in conference play last season looking to continue to be a threat the M-O.
Coach Sue Stoltenbergs team will need to do it without the help of quite a few of last years big players though. Seniors heading this years team include shortstop Sara Wickman, outfielder Mitzi Baca, Rachel Grutza and Stevie Oldenberg.
As far as the juniors on the team, Lauren Edlbeck will be the teams featured hurler with Bethany Gabriel stopping things behind the plate and Crysta Clark at third base as well as classmates Kendra Backhaus, Kim Minger and Morgan Zeutzius.
Sophomores Kaylor DeLaet and Veronica Shaw will also be starting for the Lady Rangers with DeLaet at second and Shaw roaming the outfield.
Also looking to contribute for coach Stoltenberg, now in her 14th year as head coach of the Wausaukee club will be sophomores Jenna Stumbris, Sophia Distad, Alexis Ferdon and Ana Baca. Stoltenberg is also looking to integrate four freshmen into the action in Amber Dunlap, Rachel Ferrington, Cindy Nutt and Angel Melton.
Coleman Eyes Improved
Play On M-O Diamonds
Coach Jean Levashs Cougars are looking to make the jump into the conferences top tier this season and improve on last years M-O mark of 3-7.
Theyll have just three seniors on the team but all three will be big contributors this season as catcher Janae Engels, pitcher Krisi Rickling and Ashley Teteak at shortstop will all be in the starting lineup.
Junior Brooke Pashek is a returning letter holder at third base while Allicia Nosgovitz, freshman Mckenzie Kostreva, sophomore Faith Baldwin, junior Aspen Ruiz and Lily Cornelius, also a sophomore, round out the starters for the Coleman team.
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