The Wauwatosa East softball team is looking to surprise some teams in the Greater Metro Conference according to coach Ed Raue.
"It would appear after winning only three games in 2013, the 2014 Raiders would not have high expectations," Raue said. "But a closer look tells otherwise.
"The 2013 squad lost five 1-run games and had only two seniors, so the 2014 team is expecting bigger things. Led by seniors Aubrey Nigh, Kirsten Miller, Margie Van Meter and junior Meredith Starnes, the Raiders are looking to surprise some and finish in the top half of the conference."
Senior outfielder Margie VanMeter, a second-team all-conference choice last year, leads the returnees.
Senior catcher Aubrey Nigh, a 4-year varsity starter, was honorable mention as a sophomore and a junior.
Junior infielder Meredith Starnes, a 3-year varsity starter, was an honorable mention choice her first two seasons.
Senior first baseman Kirsten Miller, a 4-year varsity starter, was honorable mention last season.
Other returnees are junior shortstop Katie Drakulic and sophomore outfielders Natalie Yahn and Vanessa Kohut.
Raue listed four freshmen among the newcomers, along with junior utility player Zoe Jones. The first-year players are pitcher Cora Bilitz, catcher Taylor Cure and utility players Morgan Schmanski and Mollie Schneider.
"The returning players will guide a heavy crop of newcomers," Raue said. "Bilitz and Cure are going to be expected to step in and fill big roles at pitcher and catcher, respectively.
"The second base opening has numerous candidates to fill it. Schmanski, Schneider and Jones all will get a serious look at strengthening the middle of the diamond.
"The outfield appears set with Van Meter patrolling center field being flanked by two heavy-hitting sophomores, Yahn and Kohut."
A team that won three games last year looks to make the big step to the top half of the ultracompetitive Greater Metro Conference in 2014.
The Red Raiders lost their opener to Kenosha Indian Trail, 16-0, at home Tuesday to open this week.
Of the 10 players on the roster, six were playing their first varsity game and five of those were playing in their first high school softball game — four freshmen and a junior who came over from soccer.
Raue was pleased with the freshman.
"We only had two hits, but they came from freshmen playing in their first game," he said. "Morgan Schmanski drove a single up the middle in the fourth, and Taylor Cure went to straight away center and hit it off the fence, but it was hit so hard, she was out at second.
"Bilitz showed a ton of promise on the mound. She pounded the strike zone and mixed her pitches as the game went along."
Tosa East was scheduled to play Sussex Hamilton at home Tuesday. They play Brookfield Central tonight and St. Thomas More on Friday — both games at 4:30 p.m.
They also play Divine Savior Holy Angels on Monday, at West Allis Central on Tuesday and Brookfield East on Wednesday. All games are at 4:30 p.m.
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