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J-D softball looks for third straight sectional title

Just two seniors gone from 2013; Keeler returns to pitch

— While the weather conditions outside don’t want to cooperate, the Jamesville-DeWitt softball team is toiling away, preparing for the 2014 season. The Red Rams are seeking a third consecutive sectional title and hope to advance to the state title game, as it did two seasons ago.

Through the first few weeks of practice, Coach Phil DeAugustine, now in his 17th year at the helm with eight sectional titles to boot, is largely pleased.

“The girls look really good,” he said. “Many of the technique things with fielding and hitting, they have down. The summer ball they play really helps with their skills.

Contributing to these good feelings DeAugustine has about his squad is the fact that this year’s cast is largely unchanged from 2012-13. However, that team’s two seniors left behind some big shoes to fill.

Seniors Maddy Devereaux and Ashley Thompson led the team from both a performance and leadership standpoint. Thompson was the second baseman and a four-year player, while Devereaux, a five-year player, started at third base.

Sophomore Paige Sherling, who was a big part of last year’s regional semifinal team in right field, has moved to second base to replace Thompson.

“She’s put in a lot of work [to play in the infield],” said senior catcher Alexis Cantor. “I’m really proud of her.” Replacing Devereaux at third base will be junior Erika Siegel, who was also on last year’s team.

The Rams don’t have captains, instead relying on everyone on the team to be individually accountable.

“It’s not one person’s job to be a leader,” Cantor explained. “It’s everybody’s role.”

Still, seniors Cantor, Maggie Austin and Kerri Keeler have taken the reins of the team and intend to guide them to success.

“We do a lot of team dinners now and hang out a lot more outside [of practice] so we can have better chemistry,” Austin said. “Kerri, Alexis and I just try to set a good example at practice and always work hard.”

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