BIG RAPIDS \u2013 Rylie Shafer hopes to play a key role for a Reed City softball team expected to be much improved this season. She\u2019s in her senior season and will be a catcher and shortstop this spring for the Coyotes. She did some pitching last season but doesn\u2019t plan any this year unless she\u2019s needed. It\u2019s her 10th year of softball and fourth for varsity. \u201cIt was rough last year,\u201d Shafer said. \u201cBut at the end of the season, it started picking up a little bit.\u201d It was a \u00a0young team last year and will be young again this year but with more experience. Shafer expects to be more of a leader. As a catcher, \u201cprobably my arm,\u201d is a strength, Shafer said while expressing confidence in being able to throw out runners. She also hopes to be strong in blocking wild pitches. Her arm and range are strengths at shortstop, Shafer added. \u201cI hit the ball decent last year,\u201d Shafer said. \u00a0\u201cI struggled a little bit. \u00a0You have to keep your head on the ball.\u201d Reed City opens at Lake City on April 6 and has home games April 9 with Marion and April 12 with Clare. Shafer played summer ball with her travel team. She also plays volleyball and basketball, but said softball is her favorite. \u201cI like the family atmosphere,\u201d she said.