Looking to Produce Another Championship Campaign, Hun Softball Emphasizing the Basics, Staying Positive
POWER SOURCE: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn smacks the ball in a game last season. Junior Kobryn enjoyed a huge sophomore campaign last spring, hitting .500 with team highs in homers (7), RBIs (28), and runs (30) in addition to being the team’s pitching ace with six no-hitters and 190 strikeouts in 87 innings. Kobryn’s heroics helped Hun go 18-1 and win its first Prep A state title since 2017. Picking up where they left off, the Raiders started their 2023 campaign by sweeping a doubleheader from Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Sunday, winning 16-0 and 15-0. Hun will be playing at the Lawrenceville School on March 30, at Penn Charter (Pa.) on April 1, and at the Peddie School on April 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
There is a target on the back of the Hun School softball team as it comes into its 2023 campaign.
Having rolled to an 18-1 record last spring and winning its first Prep A state title since 2017, Kathy Quirk warned her players that they will be getting the best efforts of their foes this spring.
“As we told them, every team is going to be out to get you,” said head coach Quirk, who is entering her 48th season at the helm of the program.
In order to prepare for that challenge, the Raiders headed south to Vero Beach, Fla., for their annual preseason trip and some bonding.
“It was a great experience that way; the girls had a lot of time together, we went golfing one day,” said Quirk. “It is one of these places where you are stuck on a compound where we do everything together.”
Junior star Lexi Kobryn will be looking to build on the great season in the circle last spring when she hurled six no-hitters and had 190 strikeouts in 87 innings.
“Lexi committed to Villanova, she is very happy and excited so I am hoping she can just have some fun,” said Quirk, whose team picked up where it left off, starting its 2023 campaign by sweeping a doubleheader from Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Sunday, winning 16-0 and 15-0. “I think she has gotten better and more confident with herself on the mound. She worked out all winter, she lifted weights. She went all around the country, playing travel.”
The Raiders feature pitching depth with junior Jamie Staub and sophomore Anna Murphy.
“Jamie looks good, she seems to have speed and control, her pitches are moving,” said Quirk. “Anna will see some time when the opportunity arises.”
In addition to her dominant pitching, Kobryn provides punch in the middle of the Hun batting order, having hit .500 with team highs in homers (7), RBIs (28), and runs (30) in 2022.
“We are looking at Lexi batting third, her hitting has also improved,” added Quirk.
Hun should have good hitting throughout the order as freshman Sam Jolly, senior Kat Xiong, senior Sammy Kandel, sophomore Emma Eisenberg, Murphy, and Staub should all be productive.
“We brought in a slapper this year in Sam Jolly, we are hoping that she may bat first,” said Quirk. “Kat will be batting second — she committed to Colby so she is going to play softball after Hun. Sammy Kandel will help us with the bat. Anna did a nice job with the bat last year, she was our designated hitter. Jamie usually bats fifth or sixth. Emma is doing a nice job with the bat.”
Around the infield, the Raiders have players who can get the job done.
“Emma will probably be our starting catcher; it is between her and Kailey Jacobs, she is a returning sophomore,” said Quirk. “At first will be Jamie when Lexi is pitching and vice versa. We also got a freshman, Rowan Lacy, who is a first baseman and did a nice job at spring break. At second we have Sam Jolly to fill in that spot. At shortstop, we took Sammy Kandel out of left field and put her in at shortstop. Kailey could also play some shortstop. Right now, Sammy seems to be pretty strong there. Brianna Riviello, a sophomore, will be back at third.”
The Raiders are pretty set in the outfield. “Left field right now will be Murphy, center field will be Kat,” added Quirk. “Nina Amodio is in right field, she is a senior. Amelia Zucatti, a senior, is looking to play some outfield.”
As the Raiders aim for another championship campaign, Quirk believes the keys to success will be a maintaining a positive mindset and taking care of the fundamentals.
“I think we have to play with confidence,” said Quirk, whose team will be playing at the Lawrenceville School on March 30, at Penn Charter (Pa.) on April 1, and at the Peddie School on April 4. “Our bats have to be strong, and we just have to play solid defense.”