The Gehlen Catholic softball team opens their season on the road tonight against the West Sioux Falcons. The Jays will look to build off a team that finished in the top half of the War Eagle Conference while getting bounced out of the regional postseason early on. They will try and do this while graduating one of the top all-around hitters on the team in Emily Kellen and one of the best average hitters and base stealers on the team in Tiffany Woerdehoff. This will give some young athletes some opportunities to play, and Head Coach Tony Gunter says they are ready for the task.
While the absence of Kellen and Woerdehoff pose their own question marks, the big question mark for the Jays will be the health of Rylee Schnepf. Last year, she tore her ACL near the end of the season and was not able to finish competing. She has been rehabbing all offseason, but Coach Gunter says that early on she may not be to the level she wants to be.
Schnepf’s questionable status at times will force the Jays to be deep enough with their pitching to be comfortable replacing her on a regular basis. Coach Gunter says there are some young arms that can step into that role if needed.
In the field, the biggest issues will be at the corner infield spots. Emily Kellen played first base for the Jays, and Coach Gunter says it will be tough to replace her bat and, more importantly, her glove.
Heading into his sixth year, Coach Gunter has already informed his team that this will be his last season coaching the Gehlen Catholic softball program. His goal for his team this last season does not revolve around a win goal or a state tournament berth. Rather, Coach Gunter just wants his team to enjoy the game during his final summer coaching them.
The Jays open their season in Ireton tonight at West Sioux. You’ll be able to listen to the game on KLEM Radio with pregame coverage beginning at 6:45.