Wauwatosa West softball coach Ed Raue didn't waste any superlatives when talking about this year's Trojans team.
"2012 was the greatest season in Tosa West softball history," he said. "That said, we have a long way to go to become serious contenders in the conference. I want our players to enjoy and appreciate what they accomplished but also to realize that it cannot be the end of our progress.
"We want to be a consistently good team; not just in Tosa West terms but in conference terms and that will not be easy. The conference realignment has New Berlin West joining our side and a very good program in Pius XI joining the conference. We will be picked to finish last in our conference next year, based on history alone. That becomes the 2013 goal - finish anywhere but last; and we can do it."
Sophomores earn team awards
The Trojans two top awards went to sophomores this year so that is a good sign for the future.
Ashley Lindstrom was named the Trojans' MVP and Emily Schaefer was the Most Improved Player.
Seniors Anna Radske and Martha Schuster were team captains and senior Nicole Savignac earned the Team Scholar Athlete Winner (3.946 GPA).
The Trojans had three second-team all-conference players - Lindstrom (pitcher), Schaefer (outfielder), Radske (catcher) and one honorable mention in Martha Schuster (infield).
Raue will lose six seniors - Radske, Savignac, Schuster, Carra Gaines, Alexis Hafemeister and DarrylAnne Stadler.
The Trojans set numerous school records - total wins (12), conference wins (six), winning percentage (.480), runs scored (237), hits (170), walks (197), doubles (20) and triples (16).
"These are huge accomplishments for our program," Raue said. "I am so excited that these girls got to taste success. Now, it must drive them. Looking deeper, it also shows we have not had much of a history and we get to write it. Those are all team accomplishments.
"Our goal was 10 wins and we won 12, which is unbelievable. Having said that, I wouldn't be a coach if I didn't think about the three-four games we could/should have won. Had we won those games, we would have a had a special season, not just a good one."
Raue was pleased with several accomplishments. On offense, getting ahead of the count and striking out less than five a game and walking almost eight times a game.
A key area of improvement must be the defense, which gave teams too many outs and caused Lindstrom to throw too many extra pitches.
Lindstrom had a tremendous offensive season, finishing first in the Woodland Conference in RBIs (38), third in triples (five) and total bases (63) and fourth in hits (34). She had a .435 batting average, a .506 on base percentage, an .829 slugging percentage and a 1.335 OPS.
"These numbers are incredible for any player, in any league and on any team," Raue said. "She is a hitter playing pitcher but one that is working very hard at becoming a complete player. Ashley is someone who works tirelessly on her game. She leaves practice to go to her pitching coach, at least four times a week. She loves this game and her teammates need to find some of the same drive, because if they do, our program will have great success."
Schaefer, who covers a lot of ground in the outfield, came out swinging and never stopped.
"Throw in the fact that she had a keen eye, and you get an incredible (.540) OBP," Raue said. "Within that OBP was our best baserunner. She is fast and has great instincts. She was one vote shy of first-team all-conference."
Big positions to fill
Radske will be very difficult to replace.
"She was the perfect leader for this team who kept everything light. The umpires loved her and she played every game with a smile on her face but I can't help but wonder 'what if' with Anna. She led the Black Division in doubles and was 10th in hits. She also threw out an amazing 21 runners on the bases this year."
Schuster struggled defensively, but not at the plate, said Raue.
"The harder they threw, the better Martha hit," Raue said. "She kept it simple with her approach and swing. She was second on the team in RBI, third in hits."
Raue also praised Gaines and Hafemeister for their ability to get on base (.557 and .550 OBP). They hit eighth and ninth respectively, which parlayed into 42 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.
Freshman shortstop Kady Johnson was the only player to play every inning this season. She gained valuable experience and proved she has the bat and eye (.475 OBP) to handle varsity pitching.
Sophomore Hailey Bosetti played softball after a year of rugby but played as if she's been playing all along. A possible replacement at either third base or catcher, her versatility was key to West's success. Abbey Jones came up midseason and played a strong first base. She is a good target at first and she saved the defense on numerous occasions.
"The program has energy and excitement moving forward," Raue said. "Ashley is a special player who will push her teammates but really needs them to maximize their talents if we want to be taken seriously within the conference. Our goal next year is to win 15 games and not finish on the bottom of a very tough division."
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