Manager: Del Culver, 2nd season
Last Season: 8-18 (4-8 SBC)
Batting Order: C Hope Thorbahn; 2B Kate Mueller; CF Molly Haberman; RF Emily Ashley; DP Shelby Radloff; SS Sydney Atkins; P Paige Culver; 3B Allie Schroeder; LF Marissa Day
Outlook: In Del Culver's first season as the Port Clinton head softball coach, he worked to change the culture within the program, one that has struggled for a number of years.
Last season the Redskins went 8-18 overall and 4-8 in the Sandusky Bay Conference, and this year Culver is hoping for his club to make continued improvement.
In the young season Port Clinton has gone 0-4, though the schedule has featured some quality opponents, and the 'Skins' performance in the two recent games give Culver reason to be optimistic. In the losses to Norwalk (7-6) and Sandusky (9-5), Port Clinton has remained competitive, giving reason to be hopeful about what could be.
“We've played four very solid teams,” Culver said. “The first two games were rough and we're starting to play like we can, which is very competitive. I think (we're) turning the corner.”
The 'Skins are a young but experienced group that has just one senior, Sydney Atkins, and lost just two to graduation from last year's squad.
As it looks right now the batting order will be as follows: C Hope Thorbahn; 2B Kate Mueller; CF Molly Haberman; RF Emily Ashley; DP Shelby Radloff; SS Sydney Atkins; P Paige Culver; 3B Allie Schroeder; LF Marissa Day.
All of the players expect Day, who's a freshman, have earned at least one varsity letter and a number of them have played on the varsity squad since the ninth grade.
Paige Culver and Kate Mueller are the team's two starting pitchers, and they'll have as much of an impact on the team as any two players. How they pitch will go a long way in determining how well Port Clinton does this season.
“We're young, but we're an experienced young team,” Del Culver said. “Most of these kids have played since they were freshman. They have the experience.”
The rest of the roster includes RF Amber Wuersig, a two-year letter winner, as well as Tiffany Colston, McKenzie Stine and Morgan Hazzard.
Currently, Culver sees Edison, the reigning league champion, and Perkins as the top two teams in the league with there being a logjam amongst the other six.
“There are no teams (in the league) where you can go, 'That's going to be a win,'” he said. “It's going to be a balanced conference. I think that's fantastic. You've got to bring your best and compete every night.”
“We would like to finish over .500 and we think we can compete with any team out there. We have a really good group of girls in our school. A lot of the basketball players play softball (and) I think basketball helped them to become winners and we're hoping that that can transfer over to the field.”
Culver has experience turning programs around at Port Clinton. Since taking over as the head girls cross-country coach, he helped the 'Skins improve from worst to first, leading the program to consecutive league titles in 2010 & '11. But a manager can only do so much. As Culver states, it's ultimately up to the players themselves.
“I think that the kids themselves are the main emphasis on changing the culture,” he said. “We have a group of kids that have been together for 10 years, playing basketball and softball and they've always had success at those levels. I think they've brought that winning mentality to our program.”