Lady Leafs' softball team loaded with veteran talent

Chris Steele
Delaney Ostrowski hits a fly ball during the Lady Leafs' game against Sherrard last season.

The Geneseo softball team has a lot of talent returning to the diamond including eight seniors on the 2017 roster.

Finding where all the pieces will fit together is what Lady Leafs’ Coach Pat Mitchell wants to find out as the season approaches.

“We tell people if you hit, we will find a place for you to play,” Mitchell said. “Now we have lots of hitters and their defense is going to matter, too.”

Geneseo begins the season with 15 players on the varsity roster and only one is an underclassman which means a lot of battles for playing time for the defending regional champions.

The Lady Leafs had become accustomed to coming into the season knowing Rachael Varland and Maddy Shoemaker would be covering the left side of the infield.

After losing Varland and Shoemaker to graduation, Geneseo will need infielders to step into those shoes.

A junior, Anna McAvoy’s athleticism has made an impression on Mitchell while trying to fill those spots.

Geneseo has a few experience infielders returning with Briley Koberlein earning time at second base

last season, and DelaneyOstrowski getting time at the corner infield positions as well.

The Lady Leafs’ Kaitlyn McKeag’s hitting ability has caught the coaches’ attention, and Sydney Himmelman’s height allows her to get to any ball at first base.

The Leafs’ Stella Corgan had a solid season at the sophomore level last year.

Hannah Tesmond and Lauren Denney will be among Geneseo’s senior leaders.

Geneseo’s pitching staff has three players vying for time in the circle.

After missing all of last season with a knee injury, Maddie Mackey returns looking back at full strength after getting to test out her knee in basketball season.

“We are looking for (Mackey) to jump right back on the mound,” Mitchell said. “She doesn’t have any fear. The injury has limited her range a little bit, but it has not limited her desire.”

Mitchell thinks the pitching staff will be similar to what Geneseo had last season when Andrea Wagoner and Jane Thomas combined to keep opponents’ bats quiet.

In the 9-2 regional championship victory over Pontiac, Wagoner and Jane Thomas combined to allow three hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Leafs’ Thomas was outstanding last season earning more than 10 wins in the circle.

Thomas suffered an injury during basketball season, but has been cleared to pitch and play.

A superstar with the bat in her hands, Ostrowski will look to establish herself in the circle after pitching in some JV and sophomore games as a freshman.

Caitlin Gilmore will handle the bulk of the Lady Leafs’ catching responsibility.

While new faces will be in the infield, Geneseo has five players who have experience in the outfield.

Jasmine McCormick was a NIB 12 All-Conference team member, and she earned Geneseo’s hustle award and Will to Win Award.

The Leafs’ Kayla Johnson, Allison Yager and Breanna Jones each showed signs they could be relied on in the outfield.

A junior, Yager has been in the varsity lineup the past two years.

Johnson hit a home run in Geneseo’s 11-3 victory over Sterling, and Jones drove in two runs against the Golden Warriors.

2017 Lady Leafs' roster

2    Stella Corgan    Jr.    

6    Hannah Tesmond    Sr.    

11    Lauren Denney    Sr.    

12    Jane Thomas    Jr.    

13    Caitlin Gilmore    Jr.    

14    Anna McAvoy    Jr.    

17    Kayla Johnson    Sr.    

18    Kaitlyn McKeag    Jr.    

21    Breanna Jones    Sr.    

22    Jasmine McCormick    Sr.    

23    Briley Koberlein    Sr.    

25    Maddie Mackey    Sr.    

26    Sydney Himmelman    Sr.    

27    Delaney Ostrowski    So.    

28    Allison Yager    Jr.    

Coach: Pat Mitchell.                

Assistant coaches: Katelyn Cook, Jesse Dobbels, Jenna Harshbarger, Mike Kernan, Bob Pettit and Tom Rusk.             

Lady Leafs’ softball schedule

March 14    Sherrard at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.    

Mach 15    Geneseo at Rockridge    Rockridge High School    4:30 p.m.

March 16    Geneseo at Orion    Orion HS (JV at 6 p.m.)    4:30 p.m.

Mach 21    Dunlap at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

Mach 24    Jefferson at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    6 p.m.

Mach 25    Geneseo at Yorkville DH      Yorkville High School    11 a.m.

Mach 28    Geneseo at Ottawa    Ottawa High School    4:30 p.m.    

Mach 29    Geneseo at Alleman     Alleman Sports Complex    4:30 p.m.

Mach 30    Moline at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

April 3    Rock Island at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

April 4    Sterling at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

April 6    Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru    Veteran’s Park    4:30 p.m.

April 10    Geneseo at Myrtle Beach Invite    Myrtle Beach, Fla.    TBA

April 11    Geneseo at Myrtle Beach Invite    Myrtle Beach, Fla.    TBA

April 12    Geneseo at Myrtle Beach Invite    Myrtle Beach, Fla.    TBA

April 17    Geneseo at Galesburg    Galesburg High School    4:30 p.m.

April 18    DeKalb at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

April 20    Geneseo at Sterling    Sterling High School    4:30 p.m.

April 21    Washington Invite    Jan Smith Field, Washington    TBA

April 22    Washington Invite    Jan Smith Field, Washington    TBA

April 24    Geneseo at United Township    UTHS    4:30 p.m.    

April 25    Ottawa at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

April 27    Geneseo at Rochelle    Rochelle High School    4:30 p.m.

April 28    Morris at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

May 2    LaSalle-Peru at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

May 4    Geneseo at Kaneland    Kaneland High School    4:30 p.m.

May 8    Alleman at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

May 9    Sycamore at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

May 11    Rochelle at Geneseo    JF Edwards Complex    4:30 p.m.

May 12    Geneseo at Princeton    Princeton High School    4:30 p.m.

May 16    Geneseo at Moline    Moline High School    4:30 p.m.

May 20    Geneseo hosts Super Duals     JF Edwards Complex    10 a.m.

May 22    Regional Quarterfinals    JF Edwards Complex    TBA

May 23    Regional Semifinals    JF Edwards Complex    TBA

May 24    Regional Semifinals    JF Edwards Complex    TBA

May 27    Regional Finals    JF Edwards Complex    TBA

May 30    Sectional Semifinals    TBA    TBA

May 31    Sectional Semifinals    TBA    TBA

June 3    Sectional Finals    TBA    TBA

June 5    Super-Sectionals    TBA    TBA

June 9    State Finals    TBA    TBA

June 10    Geneseo at State Finals    TBA    TBA