All it took was one play and Justalene Olson became convinced that her team was ready to take that next step as a program this spring.

“In our first game against Wilson, we executed this pick-off play with our catcher and second baseman perfectly,” the veteran Lewiston-Porter coach said. “We were clicking. That kind of play didn’t happen in the past.”

But with a strong core of returning players and a much-improved commitment to the game, that kind of play isn’t all that surprising.

“I have softball players and a lot of them this year,” Olson said. “They’re all on board. They’ve committed to the sport and they want to be better.”

Senior captain Janeanne LePage added, “Everything seems to be cohesive. Everyone knows what they’re doing, they know their role and I feel like that’s going to translate into wins this season. We’re confident in ourselves every time we go out there.”

If those victories are to come, the veteran battery of LePage and senior right-hander Carly Knight will have a lot to do with it. LePage is a five-year varsity starter, while Knight is entering her third full season as the Lancers’ ace.

Lew-Port also returns its middle infield in freshman shortstop Megan Cuda and freshman second baseman Ryleigh Fitzgerald. Eighth grader Theresa Fleckenstein will play first with junior Janelle Johnson slated to play third.

The outfield will led by junior Chelsea O’Laughlin in center. According to Olson, junior Brittney Regis and sophomore Karissa Oddy are the leading candidates to join O’Laughlin as the Lancers head to Florida for spring break next week.

Rounding out the roster is Frankie Costanzo, Erin Klettke, Aurora Meogrossi, Sara Shields, Kaitlyn Valint and Brianna James.

“We don’t want to settle for being close to winning,” Knight said. “We want to prove to everyone we can do it this year.”

“The biggest thing for us is that we have to find a way to win the close games,” Olson said. “We had so many close losses last year, that if we can execute in the right spots, I believe we can play with a lot of teams.”

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.



LEWISTON-PORTER SOFTBALL

• COACH: Justalene Olson

• KEY RETURNEES: Megan Cuda (Freshman, SS), Ryleigh Fitzgerald (Freshman, 2B), Carly Knight (Senior, P), Janeanne LePage (Senior, C)

• QUESTION: Can the Lancers get over the hump in the Niagara Frontier League standings?

• PROJECTION: It’s going to be tough, but if there was ever a time for Lew-Port to make that leap it would be this year.