BELDING — The Belding Redskins softball team has had an extremely successful four-year ride.
Belding has won four straight district titles, three straight regional titles and even reached the Class B state semifinals during that run.
The Redskins will be looking to continue those runs despite the losses of Kyleigh Linebaugh and Morgan Hill. Linebaugh was an all-state pitcher, while Hill was a very talented first baseman and hitter. Both are now playing in college.
This year’s team, though, still features plenty of experienced and talented players.
“We are jelling very well. I think we will be toward the top of the conference (O-K Blue),” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “We have good potential for another district title.”
The Redskins finished last year 28-11 and are 130-43 in the past five years.
Belding returns Rachel Hunt (SS/P), Hannah Linebaugh (2B), Caitlyn Alkire (P/OF), Makala Boss (OF), Autumn Thome (OF), Kaitlyn Lieffers (OF) and Mariah Heintzelman (C).
“Captains Rachel Hunt and Hannah Linebaugh have a lot of experience with success and the expectations of the program,” Linebaugh said. “Alkire is looking to do a lot of pitching for us.”
All three players are third-year varsity players.
“We have good bats and play good defense,” Linebaugh said. “We will need consistent pitching and base running now.”
Varsity newcomers include Brooke Linebaugh (Fr.), Greta Wilker (Fr.), Ryann Rich (Fr.) and Alyssa Canterbury (Jr.) Canterbury is a transfer from Greenville.
As for the O-K Blue, competition will be tough.
“Wyoming has combined two great programs into one and Coopersville returns some good pitching,” Linebaugh said. “Sparta is always good and scrappy, while Comstock Park is returning a good pitcher.”
The Redskins open the season with conference play since a couple of games have already been postponed due to weather. They play at Coopersville on April 9.