Strong returnees boost Greenfield softball team
Hawks welcome five all-conference players
A group of returning all-Woodland Conference players will lift the Greenfield softball team in the 2014 season.
The Hustlin' Hawks welcome back seven starters, including five players who earned all-conference recognition a year ago.
The first-team all-Woodland honorees are senior shortstop Sara Kassel, who batted .429 in the 2013 season, and sophomore pitcher/infielder/outfielder Kaylan Biersack.
Making the second team last season were senior outfielder Kayla Culbertson, who hit .333; junior outfielder/infielder Nicolette Curtis, who batted .349; and sophomore pitcher/infielder Bella Matthias, who sported a .378 average and drove in 22 runs.
Matthias and Biersack were also the Hawks' best pitchers a season ago.
Other returning starters are sophomore infielder Maria Montemayor and senior infielder Kristin Kaifesh, plus senior outfielder/infielder Alicia Newport, a part-time starter.
A key newcomer is freshman Alexis Vilkoski, who is slated to take over the catching duties this season.
Last season, the Hawks went 20-8 and beat Muskego for a WIAA Division 1 regional championship before falling to eventual state runnerup Kenosha Bradford in sectional play.
Head coach Jack Miller, entering his 23rd season with the Hawks, thinks his team can pick up where it left off last year.
"I am cautiously optimistic about this season," Miller said. "I think we could develop into a pretty solid team."
Greenfield opened the season with a 2-1 loss to Franklin on April 1 as Matthias allowed only one hit and three baserunners while striking out 12 in six innings.
Only two balls were even hit out of the infield, and the Sabers' winning run scored without a hit on a walk, stolen base, wild pitch and passed ball.
The Hawks had baserunners in five innings but could not capitalize.
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