Although there are many unknowns heading into the North Iowa Cedar League this summer, South Tama's baseball and softball coaches are hoping for solid seasons.
Both teams struggled in 2011, finishing 3-30 (baseball) and 3-28 (softball). Both squads return numerous varsity players from a year ago as neither team had a senior on the roster last year. Seth Koch's baseball team returns 14 players who saw varsity action in 2011. Chelsea Ahren's softball squad brings back seven starters from last year.
Many of those players were young and now a year older with more experience. Both coaches are hoping that experience carries over from a year ago and helps produce wins this summer.
"Things have been going well, but I wish numbers were a little better," Koch said. "Where we are short on numbers, we're long on experience. The nice thing is we've got 12 to 14 kids who have some varsity experience from last year. We've got two seniors who are leading us now."
Jacob Clark and Chase Schuett are the lone seniors on this year's baseball roster. Clark will be one of the primary pitchers, along with Sam Kuhter. Meanwhile, Schuett will play in the outfield with Kaleb Davenport, Clark and Kuhter joining him at times. The Trojans' infield could include Kolton Smith, Dalton Doyle, Grant Koch, Clay Waterbury, Ian Slagle, Nate Hala and a few other players. Coach Koch said his infield could included various players throughout the season.
"Expectations are higher this year," Koch said. "You also have to be realistic. It's a new conference, but it's a good baseball conference. East Marshall is rich in tradition. West Marshall was the conference champ last year and they have everybody back. Gladbrook-Reinbeck has two really good pitchers that are always tough to face. We'd like to believe we can be in the top four if we play well and pitch well. We are going to have to do those things right away."
Ahrens also returns her starting pitcher, Jenn Maus, but lost her second pitcher, Kourtne Smith, to an injury she suffered late in the basketball season. However, the Trojans return three other infielders and all three outfielders.
Those returning infield starters are Riley Craun, Trisha Walz and Hailey Weiss. Jade Rohach, Tori Applegate and Sam Holtz return as outfielders. Sarah Holtz also returns to the Trojans' lineup.
"I don't know if we'll be ready by the first game, but we'll work from there," Ahrens said. "We'll see what we need to work on after that first game."
The baseball team hosted a home game on Monday and it will play at home Tuesday. The softball team plays at 6 p.m. Wednesday at home.