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Lady Eagles build team effort with season opener in Florida

 

Despite the incredible success of IVCC’s softball team over the past 13 years under head coach Cory Tomasson, they have never made it to the national tournament.

Tomasson expects that to change this year. “This is the most athletic and versatile team I’ve coached,” he said.

Even after losing six players from last season, Tomasson says the 2013 team has meshed quickly.

“This is without a doubt the easiest group of girls I’ve coached,” said Tomasson. “The attitude of the team is amazing, not one of them has a negative attitude. There is competition for spots but all the girls encourage each other. All the girls are so respectful and they are all willing to contribute.

The team opened their season this year with a trip to Florida, where the Eagles went 2-4. The Eagles defeated Pasco-Hernando on March 8 and then fell to the Florida State Manatees and Polk State on March 9 and 10.

Upon returning home, the Eagles also dropped a double-header to Kankakee on March 15.

According to Tomasson, the Eagles are stacked with pitching this year. Pitchers on the roster include Sophomores Paige Hill from Stillman Valley, Karly Huss from Serena and Kate Nauman from Amboy. Freshmen Johnna Schultz will also seek pitching time this season.

“We have multiple players who can play multiple positions,” said Tomasson. “We have no dead spots on the field.”

Sophomore second baseman Katie Huss believes the Eagles are going to have a successful season. “We are going to be very solid defensively,” she said. “Our team works well together.”

Tomasson also hopes to win the Arrowhead Conference, which the Eagles have won three times in the past 13 years.

“Our conference is very balanced,” said Tomasson. “There is no clear-cut winner. There are no give away games.”

The Eagles are used to playing at a high level of competition. Many of the women had success in high school earning all conference honors and six of them competed at the State Tournament level.

Former La Salle-Peru first-baseman Taylor Schmidt played in the State Championship game her junior year along with teammates TJ Chapman, Micky Fassino and Jennie Laio.

Schmidt, the daughter of La Salle-Peru High School softball coach Mike Schmidt, is looking forward to playing at the collegiate level.

“I’m excited to be playing in a new environment with new girls and new coaches,” Schmidt said. “I think we are going to have a great season.”

Not only are these women good athletes, they’re good students. Tomasson is proud of the team’s impressive first semester GPA of 3.35.

“These girls are upholding the academic excellence of our program,” Tomasson said.

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