After their 2012 season ended with a 9-2 loss in the sectional semifinals to the Leyden Eagles, the Lane Tech Indians girls softball team looks to take the next step this season and get to the sectional championship game.
The Indians, who were city champions last spring, will return several key members in their lineup, including seniors Grace Tamayo, Alyssa Santana, and Casey Cusano. Junior shortstop Hailey Pieruccini and junior catcher Emily Espinosa also return to the lineup this season, and head coach George Stavrakas knows they will make an impact.
“(Espinosa) is the quiet leader,” he said. “Like a (Chicago White Sox first baseman) Paul Konerko type. She doesn’t say alot, but the minute she speaks, everybody listens. (Pierrucini) will also be really special.”
Freshmen Kayla Garcia and Eva Strees join the team for 2013, and their presence will add even more depth to the Indians’ lineup.
“(Garcia) is something special to watch,” Stavrakas said. “She is one of the most athletic and quick players i’ve seen. (Strees) is another world of talent, another athlete. She is a catcher and third baseman but we could also have her in the outfield.”
The seniors and other upperclassmen know how close this team has been to getting to the sectional championship the past two seasons, and it will be up to them to lead the way as the Indians grow to be even stronger in 2013.
“That’s definitely the next step, it’s just like climbing a ladder,” Stavrakas said. “For this junior group, we’ve won regionals the past two years and gotten to the sectional semifinals and lost. Last year’s loss left a horrible feeling at the end of the year, and it will be interesting to see how much these kids have grown now that they’re juniors. That’s where I look to the leadership of Espinosa and Pieruccini, for them to help make sure that doesn’t happen again.”