Kathy Quirk is welcoming back a lot of familiar faces to her Hun School softball team this spring but she is reshuffling the deck.
In the wake of losing catcher Carey Million, third baseman Danielle Beal, and second baseman Joey Crivelli to graduation with first baseman Caitlin Hoagland moving out of the area, some of the key returners will be changing places.
“We are struggling to fill some holes,” said longtime Hun head coach Quirk, who guided the Raiders to an 11-7 record last spring and an appearance in the state Prep A championship game where it fell to Peddie.
“We have moved Kristen Manochio from outfield to third and Vicki Leach to second. Kameron McNair is now at first.”
The Raiders were able make some strides earlier this month when they spent a week in Florida for their annual preseason trip.
“Florida was great, we got a lot of practice,” said Quirk, whose team is slated to get the regular season underway this week by playing at the Hill School (Pa.) on March 28. “We played six games and won five. It was nice to get some wins.”
Quirk is hoping for a nice season from sophomore pitcher Alexis Goeke, who emerged as one of the top hurlers in the area in 2013.
“If Goeke can pick up where she left off last year, she will be fine,” said Quirk. “She is a strong girl, she has great fundamentals and basics.”
Hun has the makings of a strong offense with the combination of junior Julia Blake, senior Alexa Fares, senior Leach, freshman Julie Fassl, senior Manochio, and Goeke.
“At top of the order, Blake is at leadoff and she is doing a great job,” said Quirk.
“She hit the ball well in Florida. Fares and Leach will be batting at two or six. Fassl is batting third, she has a great bat and eye, she is a coachable kid. Manochio and Goeke will be in the middle of the lineup.”
The defensive alignment will feature senior McNair at first base, Leach at second, Blake at shortstop, Manochio at third, Fassl at catcher, senior Lauren Moonan in left field, Fares in center field, and a possible platoon in right field.
In Quirk’s view, the team’s success this spring could hinge on how quickly the reconfigured defense gets in synch.
“Our key to the season is being fundamentally sound and knowing what to do with the ball when it comes to you,” said Quirk.
“We are not going to be a team that is going to go errorless and we, as coaches, have to keep that in mind. We will be doing a lot of drills.”
So far, the team is showing that it will respond well to drills. “We have a great bunch of kids, the trip to Florida was one of the best we have had,” said Quirk. “The kids worked hard and they have good chemistry.”