O-W Softball has potential

By Jimmy Cardinal
Posted 4/24/24

O-W Softball: (front) Isabella Lewien, Macy Devine, Reina Arndt, Carmin Moser, Annabelle Zacharias, (back) Head Coach Zach Feind, Riley Renderman, Dharma Cooki, Lilli Stinson, Kendal Mueller, Adalie …

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O-W Softball has potential


Last season was the definition of a building year for the Owen-Withee softball team. Nine of their 12 girls were freshmen, and after losing their top two pitchers early in the season, two of those freshmen had to pitch every inning for the rest of the season. Overall, the Hawks ended up 2-15.

The upside to seasons like that is the experience gained and the players returning. However, one player who isn’t returning this season is Sidney Halida, who graduated last spring. Halida hit .375 and had a .550 OBP.

“Her bat will be hard to replace this season,” says Head Coach Zachary Feind.

If you’re doing the math, that leaves two upper classmen to return this season. They are seniors Reina Arndt and Carmin Moser, both of whom have been all-conference honorable mention players in previous seasons.

And as for those freshmen? They’re now sophomores with a whole season under their belts. Those players include Dharma Cook, Macy Devine, Adalie Hatlestad, Isabella Lewien, Lilli Stinson, and Lydia Van Ark. They will be joined by newcomers to the team sophomore Kendal Mueller and freshmen Riley Renderman and Annabelle Zacharias.

Feind sees a lot of potential in this team’s athleticism.

“I feel our biggest strength this season is our speed,” Feind explains, but then adds, “but we need to get on the bases in order to start using it.”

He also is happy to have a deeper pitching pool than in previous seasons.

Even with a full season of experience, this is still a young team.

“The biggest obstacle we will face again this season is our youth,” says Feind, “Even though this group of sophomores played quite a bit as freshmen, they are all still young and will be competing against older girls throughout our season.”

Sometimes in high school athletics we don’t think about the age gap between athletes. But even as sophomores, it means 15 and 16 year olds facing, in many cases, fully grown 18 year olds on the diamond.

“We are going to need some big jumps from some of our sophomores,” explains Feind, “and [for] our seniors to play like seniors and lead us to where we want to go.”

And where is that?

“My goal is always to win and compete,” says Feind.

Those wins have been scarce early in the season, with the Hawks getting out to a 1-5 start. The lone bright spot, however, for Owen-Withee was a 22-3 drubbing of Alma Center Lincoln. The next game for the Hawks is a doubleheader at Colby/Abby scheduled for next Tuesday, April 30.