SPRINGFIELD — Jane Trzaska couldn’t have asked for a better start to her coaching carrer. She led the Effingham County softball team to a 25-5 record in her 2019 debut.
It was a season to remember, especially since the Laady Rebels stumbled out of the gate.
“I think we started off with two losses,” Trzaska said. “(I thought), ‘Oh, gosh, what is this season going to be?’ The girls turned it around.
“I’m excited about starting the season this year.”
Now she’s gearing up for another year with hopes that it will bring the same thrills. Her team sports five juniors and nine sophomores but has several holes to fill.
“We lost our five seniors — they were kind of like our core on our infield,” Trzaska said.
The Lady Rebels have a small but talented pitching staff in sophomore Rylee Mills and senior Julia Carter.
“They both throw hard,” Trzaska said. “They offset each other with their motions. I’m excited to use them and see how they work together. They have a pretty good balance.
“It’s not really a competition between the two. They have each other’s back.”
Addie Reynolds will return behind the plate. Caleigh Eubanks, Morgan Coleman and Shelby Aiken are other key players from last year who are back.
“Enna (Lackey) is healthy again and Jennie Edinger, who hit for us last year, will be out on the field too,” Trzaska said.
Despite its youth, Trzaska believes her team will make good decisions when it faces adversity, saying the players will put their trust in each other to pull them through.
“I think when they are in a game situation, they’ll give everything they have and they will work for each other,” Trzaska said. “I think last year we had the experience of the seniors. I think this year the girls will rely on each other. We are pretty strong through our lineup.
“I am definitely excited to get playing and see how it goes.”
Heading into her second year, Trzaska has done some growing as well.
“I feel like I know more of what to expect,” she said. “I’m more prepared going into games and the logistic side of things, which will help me stay more calm before going into a game.”
What Trzaska likes about her players is their willingness to listen to instruction.
“They work really hard,” she said. “All the coaches — we can tell them anything and they are very keen into fixing it and trying to make the adjustments that need to be made.”
1 — Sarah Stevens
2 — Rylee Mills
3 — Harleigh Caine
4 — Lauren Wilson
7 — Addie Reynolds
8 — Grace Pritchard
9 — Shelby Aiken11 — Morgan Coleman
13 — Enna Lackey
14 — Alexis Hovey
15 — Karah Malik
16 — Jennie Edinger
17 — Julia Carter
22 — Caleigh Eubanks