Tracy Colvis, head coach of the Chester High School Lady Jacket softball team, is setting her expectations for success.
"We have six returning starters that have a year's experience at the varsity level," Colvis said. "We have also added four talented freshmen to our roster this spring. It's exciting to have some depth on our 2019 bench in case we need to utilize it!"
The Lady Jackets roster has 14 players -- four veteran seniors, five veteran juniors, one veteran sophomore and four rookie freshmen.
Seniors are Carlee Weir, Shea Petrowske, Kaylee James and Caitlin Roberts. Weir will pitch and play center field and first base. Petrowske will pitch and play shortstop and second base. James will catch and play right field. Roberts will play right field.
Juniors are Grace Stec, Ryn Petrowske, Jenna Bierman, Taryn Baker and Lauryn Vasquez. Stec will play left and right field. Petrowske will catch and play shortstop and second base. Bierman will play third base. Baker will play first base. Vasquez will play second base, third base and right field.
The lone sophomore on the Lady Jacket's squad is Katie Shinabargar. She is slated to pitch and play right field and left field.
The foursome of Anna Childs, Ashlyn Colvis, Kylie Fortner and Kailyn Absher make up the rookie freshman unit. Childs is expected to play second base, right field and catch. Colvis will pitch and play first base and third base. Fortner is a utility player in both the infield and outfield. Absher can catch and play first base and third base.
"So far this team seems to gel and work hard together," Coach Colvis said. "Our biggest 'con' to date is being unable to get outside on the field due to the inclimate weather. It is difficult to get in the reps we need and practice on field situations in the cold and wet."
Colvis said her squad has ability, but the true test will be in responding to high-pressure situations.
"Last year we made mistakes that cost us ballgames, but we had seven new starters," Colvis said of the squad that went 12-17. "I am hoping with a year under their belts and a year of maturing, that we can mentally take the pressure and perform well."
Colvis declined to name who she expects to stand out this year.
"Softball is not an individual sport. Not one individual will make or break us this year," she said.
"The name of the game is pitching and catching. We are lucky to have two pitchers and two catchers with experience returning from last year. We also have a sophomore pitcher that has worked hard in the off-season. She will get some innings."
Colvis expects a winning season and continued improvement as the games pile up. The Black Diamond Conference will be tough again this year, and she has her eye on perennial contender Goreville.
"I expect Goreville to be the toughest competition we will face in the BDC this year," she said.
The 2019 softball schedule has 14 home games and 13 away games, four of which are tournaments at West Frankfort, Sparta, Steeleville and Benton. CHS will open conference action against Trico at 4:30 p.m. April 9.
Colvis's assistant coaches are Dan Colvis, Craig Mitchell and Jim Weir.
Chester softball rosterNO. NAME YR
00 Carlee Weir SR 2 Ryn Petrowske JR
3 Kailyn Absher FR
4 Katie Shinaberger SO
6 Shea Petrowske SR
7 Kylie Fortner FR
8 Grace Stec JR
9 Anna Childs FR
12 Ashlyn Colvis FR
13 Caitlin Roberts SR
14 Teryn Baker JR
15 Kaylee James SR
18 Jenna Bierman JR
21 Lauryn Wasquez JR