Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Westhoff Puts Outlook in a Nutshell: `If We Hit, Catch . . .'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Westhoff Puts Outlook in a Nutshell: `If We Hit, Catch . . .'

Article excerpt

Duchesne High softball coach Stan Westhoff likes to keep things simple.

"If we hit the ball and catch the ball, we'll do all right," he said. "In a short season like this, a lot depends on your hitting. If you can get on a hot streak, it can carry you through a good part of the season.

"And defense is a key, too; you have to make the plays."

A year ago, the Pioneers finished 11-11 overall and 4-4 in the Gateway Athletic Conference.

"Considering that we only won three games the year before, it was a pretty good season," Westhoff said. "And I think we can do even better this year."

The Pioneers graduated pitcher Chris Rehm, but the rest of the team returns. Combine that nucleus with three solid players up from the junior-varsity and Duchesne appears to be ready for a big season.

"We hit pretty well last year and I think that'll continue. At least I'm hoping it will," Westhoff said. "These girls all have two or three years of varsity behind them now and they all seem to be improved. We're working hard on our hitting and I'm hopeful that the hard work will pay off."

Westhoff has similar confidence in the Pioneer defense.

"Our defense improved a lot last year and I'm hoping that the progress will continue," the coach said.

Duchesne will need to play solid defense behind senior pitcher Natalie Oxler, a control-type hurler. Oxler threw about one-third of the Pioneers' games last fall.

"Natalie isn't going to strike out a lot of people, but we know she'll throw strikes," Westhoff said. "As long as we can make the plays behind her, Natalie will give us a chance to win."

The Pioneers figure to be especially strong in the outfield, where returning All-GACers Donna Simon (CF) and Sarah Yeater (RF) are back. Another senior, Amy Bruer, returns in left field.

Junior Donna Simon will play shortstop and is Duchesne's No. 2 pitcher. Juniors Jenny Borgmeyer and Mary Geringer are up from the JV and are leading candidates at second base and third base, respectively.

At first base, the prospects include junior Julie Hill, senior Nicole Yannick and junior Debbie Westhues. …

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