By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The softball preview for the Windham Bombers’ 2023 season:
Head Coach: Tom VanKirk, 1st year at Windham (3rd year overall), 36-15 career record.
Coaching Staff: Becky VanKirk, Sondra Brown, Madi VanKirk, Colleen Coughlin, Micaela Minner, Larry Jones, Dan Patterson.
2022 Record: 4-13 overall.
Returning Letterwinners (4): Quinn Justham, soph.; Lexi Goodwin, jr.; Ka’Neese Cunningham, jr.; Za’Nya Henderson, sr.
Letterwinners Lost (2): Na’Zya Henderson, Abby Simpson.
Underclassmen to Watch: Sydney Sweet, Brielle Jones, Chanyse Jones, Skylar Biley, Libby Inman.
“This will be a rebuilding year,” first-year head coach Tom VanKirk said. “We hope to grow the program and start competing versus better competition. We are very young, and we are still working through each player’s strengths.”
While young and inexperienced, the infield will be a strength for the Bombers this season, according to VanKirk.
Like the infield, the outfield will be boosted by the incoming freshmen class, along with some upperclassmen leaders.
“Our outfield will be a constant rotation, we think,” VanKirk said.
The Bombers welcome back starter Za’Nya Henderson, a senior, who is described by VanKirk as “experienced, talented and a natural leader.”
Freshman Sydney Sweet may also get some time behind the plate.
“She is a hard worker, smart and driven to improve,” VanKirk said.
Windham has three pitchers that will get work this season.
Junior KaNeese Cunningham throws hard and brings experience.
Sophomore Quinn Justham is calculated and able to hit her spots.
Freshman Libby Inman is working to improve every day, according to VanKirk, and possesses a “nasty off-speed, natural drop ball.”
“All three have been working with our outside pitching instructor Sondra Brown and improving by the week,” VanKirk said.
“We are young, but so far these girls have bought in and put in the work,” VanKirk said. “We have already improved since the first practice.”
“We are a very small school and our roster numbers are very low,” VanKirk said. “We only had nine players to start the season and recently updated to 11. We are attempting to build enthusiasm for the new program to spur more players to come out to play.”
March 23: vs. Southeast
March 25: vs. Rittman (DH)
March 27: vs. Saint John
March 29: vs. Badger
March 31: at Mathews
April 3: at Maplewood
April 5: vs. Southington Chalker
April 10: at Pymatuning Valley
April 12: at Bristol
April 14: vs. Fairport Harding
April 17: at Southington Chalker
April 18: at Lordstown
April 20: at Garfield
April 21: vs. Lordstown
April 24: vs. Bloomfield
April 26: at Saint John
May 1: vs. Bristol
May 3: at Bloomfield