By Matthew peaslee
There’s no history book, legacy or tradition of softball at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
As of now, there isn’t even a softball field.
Canfield’s Kayley Keller will be one of the first girls to build the program from its infancy.
“Everything is going to be new,” she said. “I’ll be going there in the first year for it and it’s pretty exciting.”
Tracy Coffman is the first coach in Racers history. She’s a native of Lima, where the school is located. She has 10 years of collegiate coaching experience.
“I love her,” Keller said. “She’s had experience at the Division III level all the way to Division I. The chance of playing for her really drew me in.”
A centerfielder, Keller is a three-time letterwinner for the Cardinals and a two-time All-American Conference first-team selection.
Weary of not having any current players to talk to, her doubts were dispelled when she met the entire incoming softball class on a visit. It includes Keller’s summer ball teammate, Heather Pahorsky, who is from the Cleveland area.
Construction has begun on UNOH’s new softball field at the St. Rita’s Heath Partners Athletic Complex.
Lakeview’s Alyssa Nicholas is also staying in-state. The Bulldogs catcher is going to play at Akron next year.
Lakeview finished 16-6 last year and to start the season, Nicholas had a five-hit game in a 14-4 win over Geneva.
Girard’s Kylie Kulon will play at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. Indians coach Renny Paolone called her “the ultimate utility player.”
“She plays every position asked of her,” Paolone said. “Kylie is one of the nicest girls and hard working, determined individual.”
Kulon scored 40 runs for Girard in 2011. She also batted above .500 and had nine doubles, five triples and three home runs.
Bailey Shade, a pitcher from Newton Falls, signed to play at Fairmont State in West Virginia.
In a May 16 tournament game against East Palestine, Shade struck out 12 Bulldogs.