By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The high school softball preview for the Field Falcons’ 2023 season:
Head Coach: Beth Dyer, 17th year, 308-90 career record.
Coaching Staff: Bob Bauer, Dan Battaglia, Ashley Mack.
2022 Record: 23-4 overall record; 14-0 Metro Athletic Conference.
Returning Letterwinners (7): Megan Schmidt, sr.; Bailey Evans, sr.; Anna Harlin, sr.; Maddie Burge, soph.; Tia Ulrich, soph.; Kailyn Gressman, soph.; Olivia Dyer, soph.
Letterwinners Lost (6): Mallie Ruscitti, Devon Carpenter, Sarah Rufener, Carlee Chambers, Kelly Troup, Delaney Richmond.
Team Captains: Megan Schmidt, Bailey Evans.
Underclassmen to Watch: Delilah Rahe, Mckayla Miller, Jessica Pollard.
“We are playing a tough schedule this year, and we look forward to some great competition,” head coach Beth Dyer said.
The Falcons are coming off a championship a year ago in the Metro Athletic Conference and return two First Team All-MAC players in Megan Schmidt and Maddie Burge.
First Base — Olivia Dyer returns for her sophomore season after having a strong freshman year, which included 20 hits.
Second Base — Senior Megan Schmidt is the leader of the infield.
“She has great softball knowledge and is a leader on and off the field,” Dyer said.
Last year, Schmidt had a .900 fielding percentage.
At the plate, she had a .461 average, 47 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, 42 RBI and 26 runs scored.
Shortstop — Sophomore Tia Ulrich returns for her sophomore season after a strong freshman campaign.
She finished 2022 with 22 hits, 22 RBI, 19 runs scored and a pair of home runs.
Third Base — Kailyn Gressman and Olivia Bey will be new to third base this year to fill in for the graduated Mallie Ruscitti.
“They are hard working young lades, who have stepped up to get playing time this year,” Dyer said.
Catcher — Senior Bailey Evans returns as the starter.
She caught every inning for the Falcons last year and was “helpful with developing the young pitchers,” according to Dyer.
In all of the innings, Evans had just one error in 143 chances.
There will be plenty of new faces in the outfield this season, including Delilah Rahe, Jessica Pollard, Mckayla Miller and Cassidy Wells.
Sophomore Maddie Burge led the team in wins (13), strikeouts (66), innings pitched and ERA (2.04) last season.
“We return half the team from last year in some key spots. The returners had a great 2022 season and want to continue their success into 2023,” Dyer said.
“We are very young, with eight sophomores,” Dyer said. “We lost a great group of seniors, who not only were key contributors to every game last year, but were experienced players.”
March 25: at Ursuline
March 29: vs. Streetsboro
March 30: vs. St. Vincent-St. Mary
March 31: at Champion (DH)
April 1: at Canfield, 11 a.m.
April 1: at Boardman, 1 p.m.
April 3: at Ravenna
April 4: vs. Springfield
April 10: at Coventry
April 11: at Woodridge
April 13: vs. Norton
April 14: at Louisville
April 15: at Hudson (DH)
April 17: at Springfield
April 18: at Cloverleaf
April 22: vs. Green at George Duhon Memorial Tournament
April 22: vs. Alliance at George Duhon Memorial Tournament
April 24: vs. Ravenna
April 25: at Streetsboro
May 1: vs. Coventry
Mary 2: at Norton
May 4: vs. Woodridge
May 8: vs. Cloverleaf