New era begins for Bearcat softball
     2013-08-22      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen - The 2013 Bearcat softball team members are front row from the left, Ashleigh Charron, Lou Ramirez, Hannah Brown, Leeann Gonzales, Zoe Holscher, Brittany Hale, Betsy Holscher, Mikka Salazar, Alex Salazar; middle row, Barbara Calvert, Emily McDaniel, Mikayla Fulk, Choley Reitschneider, Alyssa Gonzales, Hilaria Garcia, Tyler Brennan, Cali Castro, Rudi Salazar, Kayla Shanaman; back row, Head Coach Michael Gentry, Tiersa Darley, Emily Runk, Michelle Becker, Riley Lang, Kacey Seglke, Madison Koch, Emily Reisig, Hana Nagasawa, Alex Coward, Assist Coach Kara Ryman, and Assist Coach David Fliam. 
New faces will join a solid core of returning starters for the Scottsbluff softball team, a mix that new Bearcats coach Michael Gentry likes and hopes can build SHS into a consistent contender.
Gentry comes to Scottsbluff from Plattsmouth, where he was the assistant varsity softball coach and also the Junior American Legion baseball coach.

The Bearcats, who made state for the first time in 2011, finished 15-18 last season and have a good group of returnees along with several younger players that Gentry believes can spell success by season’s end.

Key returning players include junior Hannah Brown, who was Scottsbluff’s No. 1 pitcher last fall and will start in the circle when the Bearcats open the season Saturday with a doubleheader at Sterling, Colo. Brown also batted .352 as a sophomore.

“We’re open-ended other than that,” Gentry said. “There are a lot of girls still competing for spots. Pretty much everything is wide open right now.”

Other returning players include seniors Mikka Salazar, an outfielder-catcher who carried a .368 batting average last fall, and infielder Betsy Holscher, who batted .356. Junior Barbara Calvert, who played center field as a sophomore, batted a lofty .483 last season.
“It’s really nice to have a couple girls like that with some experience,” Gentry said. “They’re really good leaders and they’re really showing these younger girls the ropes, and the younger girls are just feeding off that. So we have a really good mix of some experienced girls and some girls who are pretty green, and we’re just getting better every day.”

Other younger players whom Gentry sees as possible impact players include seniors Leeann Gonzales and Brittney Hale, juniors Alyssa Gonzales, Lou Ramirez and Kayla Schanaman, and sophomores Michelle Becker and Choley Reifschneider.

“I have some ideas of what I would like to do, but that changes daily with the performance of these girls,” Gentry said. “That’s a good thing, because they’re competing and they see it. They’re coming into a good situation where they all have a clean slate, they’re all getting a fresh shot and the best player will play, not matter if they’re a sophomore, freshman, senior, whatever.”

The Bearcats will open their home schedule Tuesday with a 5 p.m. doubleheader against Gering.
“They’re a work in progress and we’re one of those teams that is going to get better every time we get out there,” Gentry said.

Scottsbluff schedule
Aug. 24 at Sterling, Colo. 11 a.m. DH
Aug. 27 vs. Gering, 5 p.m. DH
Aug. 30-31 at Boulder City (Colo.) Tournament
Sept. 3 at Chadron, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Norfolk Tournament
Sept. 10 at Alliance, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13-14 at Alliance Tournament
Sept. 19 at Gering, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at North Platte Tournament
Sept. 24 vs. Alliance, 6 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Ogallala, 3 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Imperial-Chase County, noon DH
Oct. 1 vs. Chadron, 6 p.m.
Oct. 5 GNAC Tournament at Columbus
Oct. 10-11 District B-6 Tournament at North Platte
Oct. 17-18 State Tournament at Hastings



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