1 of the gold requirements of Trumbull County softball more than the final decade and a half has been Mathews. Though the group has a young core, the expectations are the very same this year as they are almost each and every year.
Immediately after a short reprieve to devote time with loved ones, a familiar face is back to guide the Mustangs system this season. Longtime coach Jim Nicula is returning to the Mathews dugout for his 12th season with the system exactly where he’s amassed a record of 207-47 at the helm.
The Mustangs boast a young lineup, but there’s a lot of encounter nevertheless in the mix. Mathews returns a sophomore-heavy lineup that saw a considerable quantity of playing time final year. Headlined by sophomores Olivia Matheny, Ava Shugart, Kelsie Newsome and Ashia Pate, as effectively as lone senior Gianna Toto, the Mustangs are in wonderful shape heading into the year.
“There’s a lot of equal talent,” Nicula stated. There are youngsters competing for positions correct now and of course the returning starters from final year, they certainly often will get initial run in there and initial likelihood to nab it but they’re obtaining to perform tough. The majority of them actually are functioning tough to hold positions and go on but yeah, we’re actual. We’re actually excited.”
Every single position is going to be handled with a committee strategy early in the year. Like Nicula stated, the starters from final season will get initial crack, but they will have other girls nipping at their heels all through the choice procedure.
With that stated, the loss of Emma Gates will definitely be felt this season, but Mathews is not in a dire predicament in the circle. In reality, the Mustangs have no shortage of fresh arms to throw into the mix when necessary.
Without having going into complete rotation particulars, Nicula talked about that he’s much more than confident in his crop of pitchers this year.
“The massive essential is going to be pitching, but I’ll inform you what, we truly have seven youngsters that pitch,” Nicula stated. “We have 4 sophomores and 3 freshmen, and we’re incredibly satisfied with them. We’ve had a couple of scrimmage games so far indoors and we did incredibly effectively. We’re playing Boardman this weekend which will be fascinating to see how they fare against a actually superior group that year in and year out, is actual strong. We’re excited. I do not consider our pitching is going to fall off.”
More than the years, pitching has been a strength for Mathews, as the Mustangs have had many all-state pitchers.
“We’ve been blessed to have all-state pitching year right after year right after year,” Nicula stated. “Going all the way back to Cheyenne Eggens from the early 2010s. Cheyenne was all-state. Then we had Nicole Watts, who was an all-state pitcher and then Addy (Jarvis) and then, we had a year or two exactly where we had Becca (Landis) and Emma (Gates) who have been young, but then they ended up each becoming all-state pitchers.”
That level of good results in the circle and level of group good results has produced playing for Mathews a challenging issue to do. There’s a higher bar you have to meet. With that stated, Nicula thinks he has the correct roster that can get back to exactly where they want to be. Creating the regionals has been good, but Nicula and the Mustangs are aiming a small bit larger than that.
“When they play softball at Mathews, you have a legacy to uphold, and the bar has been set incredibly higher,” Nicula stated. “…We’re competing for a league championship and then district and beyond. Regardless of who is right here, we reload, and that is our objective to get back to the state level. We’ve fallen quick in the regional level lately, and we want to get more than that hump, and there’s no purpose why we really feel that we can not do that this year.
“The youngsters perform tough and keep the course and exhibit what we’re attempting to get them to do and you attitude and work you know me that is my most significant issue. You can move mountains when you have a wonderful attitude and you give wonderful work. Occasionally that is way much more essential than the ability level you have.”
The road to get to Akron in June is not an effortless 1, so the Mustangs ready themselves with a rigorous typical season schedule. In addition to a difficult league slate with perennial major teams Pymatuning Valley and Bristol and up-and-comers Chalker, Mathews will be taking on some of the state’s very best teams.
As a portion of the Wendy’s Classic in April, the Mustangs are scheduled to face Danville, Marlington and Strasburg.
Mathews will open its season at household against Pymatuning Valley on March 27 at five p.m.
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