Hoffland leads six returning letter winners
Tosa East looking in rack up more victories this year
The Wauwatosa East softball team is looking to improve on its 2011 season in which the Red Raiders finished last in the Greater Metro Conference with an 0-14 record.
Tosa East coach Megan Arndorfer, who is beginning her sixth season at East and 16th year overall as a head coach, will be assisted by Terry Benter.
"Last year we didn't have the best record but I give our girls a lot of credit, they kept fighting," Arndorfer said. "We plan to do the same this year but hopefully we will have a few more wins in the victory column."
Arndorfer talked about how important the mental part of the game is.
"I say this every year, confidence is key," she said. "If the girls believe in themselves and fight like they did against No. 1 seed Germantown in regionals last year, we will be fine. This is such a mental game and we have got to believe that we can achieve anything we put our minds to."
The Red Raiders will have six returning players and nine newcomers on this year's team.
"I have never had 15 players on the varsity team," Arndorfer said. "However, by having more players the girls will have more pressure on them at each position. I believe that pressure is good, it will make them more competitive."
The majority of the infielders are returning varsity players, led by last year's MVP - senior Becca Hoffland - at shortstop. Senior second baseman Megan Gates and sophomores Kirsten Miller at first base and Aubrey Nigh at catcher also are back.
Senior Bridget Griffin and junior Sarah Jolitz are the Red Raiders' two returning outfielders.
"I am expecting great things out of my returning players this year," Arndorfer said. "They are vocal and dedicated to the game and to our team.
"We have acquired some new talent as well and are hoping they can help us achieve our goal."
Nine newcomers to look for are junior Mariel Leering on the mound and freshman third baseman Meredith Starnes and seven outfielders - juniors Lauren Simpson-Blaser, Mary Duyser, Crystal Garbett, Kemesha McAfee, Taylor Schmidt and Morgan Brazeau and sophomore Margie Van Meter.
Tosa East's major goals this season are to come out strong as a new team and fight to win their first conference game in a few years and defend its title at the Whitefish Bay Tournament.
For that to happen, Arndorfer said, the Red Raiders must improve their hitting mechanics and see if it pays off against live pitching and don't be so hesitant in the field.
Arndorfer said the teams to watch are Menomonee Falls, Brookfield East and West Allis Hale.
The Red Raiders open on March 31 at the Waukesha West Tournament. Arndorfer also pointed to the Whitefish Bay Tournament on May 19 and their annual game against Tosa West at Helfaer Field on May 24 as highlights.
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