The Coatesville softball team is off to a hot start behind a powerful lineup and strong pitching rotation.
Led by sophomore Kayla Bock, sophomore Nicole Wuertz, and senior Maggie Kane, the Red Raiders have put up 122 runs, 23 doubles, five triples, and 11 home runs en route to a 10-1 start (9-1 Ches-Mont League).
"We hit up and down the lineup and that's a big thing," said head coach Bill Mendenhall. "We are fortunate to have so many skilled players that can hit."
But it all starts with practice. The team dedicated one night a week just to hitting during the winter.
"It certainly helps that they buy into all the hitting drills," Mendenhall said. "And it shows when we step on the field."
Righthanded pitcher Natalie Florschutz and southpaw McKenna Sherman have excelled in the circle, combining for 53 strikeouts and one no-hitter. Florschutz returned from a concussion to strike out seven in a no-hitter against Kennett on April 6. Sherman has made a smooth transition to pitcher, going 8-0 with four complete games.
Other key members of the team include junior Payton Landis, senior Maddie Fleming, senior Ella Vetter, junior Samantha Emerson, senior Dana Henry, and senior Kelsey McIntyre.
"I think we have good senior leadership," Mendenhall said. "I'm looking forward to the next few weeks as we get into the meat of our schedule."
Chemistry has also been a huge part of the team's success, with most of the girls playing together since Little League. An outstanding example of this was on display when the players organized a "Pink Out" for Wednesday's home game against Downingtown West. The JV coach, Lisa Luciani, has breast cancer, which was diagnosed last year, and is doing very well in her recovery. Through the efforts of the players, nearly $1,300 was raised and will be donated to United for Her.
Downingtown West handed the Red Raiders their first loss of the season, a 4-3 decision.
Coatesville made a huge leap last season by winning its first Ches-Mont title of any kind in softball since the 1980s. Ashley Mendenhall (La Salle), Brianna White (Millersville), and Dominique Ricevuto were all big contributors during last year's run to the PIAA Class 6A state playoffs, where the Red Raiders fell to Hazleton in the first round.