Coyote softball coach confident of successful season

REED CITY — This marks the fourth week of practices for the Reed City softball team and coach Roger Steig, and his players, wouldn’t mind a chance to get outside, if possible.

For the first few weeks of practices, the weather wasn’t conducive enough to allow the Coyotes to be indoors.

“Right now, being inside, we’re focusing on our hitting and how we’re going to play our defense,” Steig said. “It’s pretty tough indoors to get the real feel of it. We’re focusing the hardest on our hitting and pitching.”

Spring break starts later this week and Steig said he’ll be having 15 players traveling down to Florida with the opportunity for practice sessions. A game scheduled for last week against Evart was canceled because of the weather.

The first schedule game is April 17 at Pine River.

“We’re going to be ready,” Steig said. “I’m really happy. We’ve got a group of girls that have been focused. Most of them have trained year round with us for a few years. They’re pretty tough softball players.”

Key returning players include seniors Brittany Cassidy, Taylor Steig, Brittani Yarger, plus senior transfer Nikki Smith from Benzie Central. Junior Skiler Brigham and sophomores Julianne Griffin and Allyson Yarger will also be returning. Griffin will be the Coyotes’ main pitcher.

“The girls who play ball for me know in every position they have to work hard,” Steig said. “Every position is always up for grabs. We have a good idea where we’re going to put people. Julianne will lead us in pitching. We’re hoping Skiler Brigham can tighten up our outfield this year. Brittani Yarger is at the third-base post. Other than that, all the positions are pretty much up for grabs. Lindsey Greer does a real nice job catching.”

Taylor Steig and Smith also are strong catchers and will see action at other positions. Taylor Steig was out last season because of hip surgery.

“Her sophomore year, she and Skiler were a part of the team that went to the quarterfinals,” Roger Steig said. “Taylor was first-team all-conference as a sophomore. Major surgery kept her out of the lineup last year. She’s been training and I’d say she’s at 90 percent. We’re hoping by the time the season comes around, we’ll have her at 100 percent.”

Steig expects to have a strong hitting team.

“We’ll be strong in every phase of the game,” he said. “We’ll be strong defensively.  I’m expecting Julianne to have an outstanding year on the mound pitching. We’re looking for that second pitcher. We have four or five girls that have been training for it to come in and relieve Julianne. From top to bottom, we’ll be tough at the plate. We’re going to score a lot of runs.”

The Coyotes hope to be a factor in the CSAA.

“Chippewa Hills last year was undefeated in the conference,” Steig said. “Holton is going to be tough. We’re going to be tough. There’s probably six or seven teams that can win this conference. It’s going to be a pretty exciting year.”