There were definitely bright spots on the 6-18 Wauwatosa West softball team, especially in the last 11 games of the season, when coach Ashley Imperiale took over the reins.
For example, Tosa West had two all-conference selections this season and they were both seniors.
Emily Schaefer earned first-team honors as an outfielder, and Ashley Lindstrom was honorable mention as a pitcher.
At the Trojans' awards banquet, Lindstrom and Schaefer also did well.
Lindstrom earned MVP honors, while Schaefer shared the Most Improved Player award and earned a Scholar-Athlete award. Talented sophomore Nicole Mystrow also earned an Improved Player honor.
"We started the season 1-12 and finished on a 5-6 note," Imperiale pointed out. "Obviously Ashley Lindstrom getting hit in the head by the line drive and missing the last half of the season was tough.
"She was batting .760 when she went down. That's insanely hard to do, seeing as she was doing it against top pitchers in the area. She is an extremely hard worker, and it's no coincidence that she was having such a dominant season at the plate."
Imperiale also talked about how Schaefer, who overcame a torn meniscus, had the season she had.
"I may be a bit biased since I've been fortunate to coach her for three years in hoops, but the kid just works hard and is so involved in all parts of Tosa West," she said. "She had a great summer basketball and softball season, tears her meniscus in last fall's basketball league and it took her all season to get back to her normal self.
"I'm really proud of her for persevering and having a great season. I don't know many other kids who will relentlessly dive for a ball over and over again with no fear of missing. She lays it all on the line every time she is out there, and she really embraced varying roles in the batting lineup depending on how her knee felt and what she could offer us."
Imperiale reserved special praise for a senior, junior, sophomore and freshman.
"Senior Hailey Bosetti really matured from last season to this season and became a confident player and a leader for us," she said.
Junior Kady Johnson made a move from third base to second.
"She really owned the position and did a nice job there," Imperiale said. "She'll be the leader as they return next year.
"Mystrow, only a sophomore, bats lefty and really found her groove and stick this year, batting just over .600," she said. "She also improved greatly behind the plate as catcher."
Freshman pitcher Rachel Bartelme stepped up for the Trojans.
"Rachel really impressed me with how much poise she (had), having to step in and pitch night in and night out," Imperiale said. "Poise and composure are not normally strengths of freshmen, and I think she is poised to have a solid career at West as she works hard at her craft and is very dedicated to the game."
Imperiale was pleased with the team's improvement as the Trojans got into the season.
"The measure of a team to me is always how much you grow from the first time you play an opponent to the second time you face them," she said. "There were lots of little victories for the program in these areas."
After getting run-ruled the first time around, the Trojans played state qualifier New Berlin Eisenhower and Pius XI all seven innings the second time around.
"Beating Greendale, especially after watching Lindstrom go down, was an amazing game," Imperiale said. "The girls executed in all facets of the game — bunting, base running, fielding — and put together a solid, quality win."
Imperiale feels the Trojans' future looks brighter.
"A lot of pieces there that can make some magic happen if they keep working hard and put it all together," she said. "It should be fun to follow in the next few years."
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