Pitching will be the key for Bobcats

Published 4:39 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Brandywine softball head coach Jim Myers will be relying heavily on one certain individual this season.
That individual has been named first team All-State, had a 25-7 record last year, threw 307 strike outs and had a .381 at the plate.
Which means a lot of weight will be resting on the senior's shoulders at the mound.
However, Kelli, who will play softball for Western Michigan University next year, will not be alone. She will get much help from her sophomore sister Kendra Zache, who also earned first team All-State honors last season for her performance at first base and at the plate.
Myers added that Kendra will probably see a lot of time being a catcher for her sister behind the plate. Kendra is also a pitcher and may see some time at the mound as well this season.
The Bobcats lost three first team All-State players last year - catcher Dee Echevarria, center fielder Ashley Antus and third baseman Amanda Grice - so Myers knows the importance of filling their shoes.
The Bobcats are also without right fielder Connie Brant, who did not go out for the team this year for personal reasons.
Other than the Zache sisters, Brandywine does have three additional players returning to the field.
Second base senior Rachel Batman will return to the lineup for the Bobcats and coach Myers said he will also be looking at her to do well on defense.
Right field sophomore Kristina Ford also returns and may also see some time at the pitching mound. Ford had a .247 at the plate last year.
Senior Mallory Barber, a first baseman and designated hitter last season, will hopefully provide the strength the team needs on offense.
As a designated hitter last year, Barber had a .295 at the plate and had a lot of big hits for the Bobcats.
Myers enters the season with a 59 game winning streak in the Lakeland Conference and seven straight conference titles. Brandywine opens the season ranked No. 8 in Division 3.
The Bobcats will open their season on Thursday when they travel to Indiana for the Clay Tournament.
Games are set to begin at 2 p.m.
On Saturday, the team will travel to the Bronson Invitational, where they may have an early glimpse at Lakeland Conference rival Buchanan. That tournament is set to begin at 10 a.m.