BELDING — Belding’s softball team did it again in 2013.
The Redskins went to the Division 2 quarterfinals for the fifth season in a row this year, and coach Mikayla Linebaugh loved it.
Linebaugh called the season “amazing.”
“I was so excited for the kids,” she said. “I thought we had a lot of improvement coming together defensively. We lost a lot with Kyleigh (Linebaugh), Morgan (Hill) and Mindy (Reminga). I wasn’t sure who would step up in the circle.”
Belding ended up 19-9, but early on it didn’t seem like they would do that well, struggling through their non-conference schedule.
“The season was such a crazy start with the weather and all the cancelations,” Mikayla Linebaugh said. “I think it was kind of a weird start for everybody. But I thought the team came together when we found out the lineup and that’s where we had our success. I’m very upfront with their role and once they know that and accept it everybody starts to connect on our team and it shows.”
Linebaugh mentioned two players who stepped up this season in Greta Wilker and Caitlyn Alkire.
“I think Greta Wilker was huge in our lineup,” Linebaugh said. “She’s young as a freshman but she had great catching skills and our defense was stronger with her at third. Her bat came on, I ended up moving her up to second in the lineup because I wanted her to get at-bats. She was dualing, doing track and softball. I thought as a freshman she carried herself very well.
“The other is Caitlin to fill the pitching spot was huge. She did well. She wasn’t a huge strikeout pitcher and she pitched strikes and got a lot of ground-ball outs. Her bat was improved also She really shined this year after not being one of the frontrunners in the past and she stepped up to be a leader this year.”
However, Linebaugh loses Alkire to graduation, so just like the beginning of the season Linebaugh is having to search for a starting pitcher.
“We’ve got a lot of leadership coming back,” she said. “We’ve got Hannah (Linebaugh) and Rachel (Hunt) coming back as four year starters. A year from now we’re going to lose a good chunk of the team, but there’s talent coming up. We’re excited to see who steps in the circle and with the defense and see how far we can go again.”