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OTTAWA — In two of the past three seasons, the Ottawa softball team has reached the 20-win plateau, but fifth-year coach Jeff Davis (73-61 career record) is looking for that regular season success to turn into postseason success.
“We have had some success in recent years and then this year we have our top three pitchers from last year’s team as well,” Davis said. “I would like to see that early season success carry over into the postseason. We are talking about staying focused and trying to score one more run per game while giving up one less run per game and trying to take all those things we do well early and throughout the season against very good teams and have some postseason success.”
The Lady Pirates have their top three pitchers back from last year’s 22-14 team and all three have commitments to play at the college level.
Lindsey Greene will be starting her third full year at the varsity level and has signed to play at Quincy University next spring.
One thing that Greene has shown though is pitching is her only position. She will start at shortstop, catcher and just about anywhere Davis asks her to play. “That’s definitely a plus with Lindsey,” Davis said. “She just gives us so many options out there and we are very comfortable doing so.”
Greene batted .395 last year with nine doubles and six triples to go along with 22 RBIs and 23 runs scored. She also had nine stolen bases in 10 attempts. Jaleesa Kindred is another dual threat for the Lady Pirates. She went 10-9 in the circle with an ERA of 1.91 in 117 1/3 innings. At the plate, Kindred batted .333 and had eight extra base hits.
When not pitching, the Southeastern Community College signee will play first. The third pitching option for Davis and company is Hillary Hon, who is back for her third full season at the varsity level.
As a junior, Hon was 8-5 with an ERA of 2.65. In 95 2/3 innings, Hon allowed 55 runs while her pin point control walked just 14 batters while striking out 38.
While pitching should be a strong point for the Lady Pirates, they will be looking to replace hitting they lost from a season ago.
“I don’t really want to single anyone out because we are going to be a deep team this year,” Davis said. “We are going to be a versatile team. We have a lot of hitting to replace though. We also have some girls like Sam Halm and Taylor Jansen who also saw some time last year with us.”
Davis does like his team’s overall speed this season with outfielder Amanda Oley stealing 18 of 21 followed by Greene with 9 of 10 and Alyssa LeSeure collecting seven more.
Davis expects the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division to once again be tough with the usual suspects at the top, but said the Lady Pirates will compete well.
“Of course L-P has been ranked high the last couple of years and had a lot of postseason success,” Davis said. “Then you have Sterling who has been ranked as well. I don’t know if there is another conference in the IHSA who has had that kind of success like the NIB, but I think we can be right there in the thick of things.”