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Mootz takes over to lead Lady Spartans

March 27, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Longtime assistant coach Fred Mootz takes over for Mike Trell as head coach of the Boardman softball team in 2019.

Mootz is no stranger to the Boardman softball community since he's been with the program so long and has also been a head coach for several girls all-star squads. He is also a proud Boardman graduate from the class of 1992. The new Boardman boss feels that his familiarity with the softball family should make his transition from assistant a smooth one.

"Knowing all of these girls is a plus," said Mootz recently via text. "I've coached several of our girls in travel from our seniors to our incoming freshmen class."

Speaking of those seniors, it's not an enormous class of 12th-graders but it's a group of girls with special make up. They have that rare ability to carry a ball club both on and off the field.

"We have a good core of senior leaders," said Mootz.

The senior class is anchored by the Saxton sisters, Alicia and Ashley, who have been major contributors on the diamond for several seasons. Alicia is a slick fielding middle infielder while Ashley roams the outfield admirably. Pitcher Jenny Taraszewski should be called upon a lot to help anchor Mootz's staff. Vanessa Roush will be in the outfield and has a great ability to get on base offensively.

Junior catcher Lauren Maughan made a lot of starts as a sophomore and her coach feels she can be right up there with her older mates in the leadership department.

"Mix the seniors in with our junior catcher and we'll have some good girls that the younger girls can learn from," Mootz said.

Sophomores Kathryn O'Horo, Morgan Cherne and Nina Scavelli are a trio of 10th-graders that will be needed to play vital roles. Junior Sami Kelly is an infielder/outfielder that Mootz will be writing into his lineup most of the time as well.

"They will all be probable starters," said Mootz about the above-mentioned quartet.

The Lady Spartans also have a surplus of freshmen that will not only lead a potent jayvee squad but should contribute to the main roster.

"We have a very big class of talented young ladies," Mootz said. "There are a few that will not only play but have ability to start."

None of those freshmen were around last season when the Spartans were shut down 12-4 by Nordonia in the sectional championship. One of the things that the rookie head coach is still working on is getting his gang to believe they are better than that final outcome.

"We need to get these girls thinking about a winning mentality," said Mootz. "Last year didn't go as planned so we have to set the standard of competing to win."

Mootz also feels he has chosen the right bunch of helping hands to aid him in getting the most out of his outfit. Nobody knows more than former six season sidekick Mootz just how important good copilots in the dugout can be.

"I've surrounded myself with solid assistants," Mootz said. "They're good character people that I want to surround my girls with."

The first year leader also believes he is surrounded with a solid pitching rotation led by Taraszewski. That has not always been the case in Boardman.

"We are vastly improved in pitching depth, which is something we've lacked in past years," Mootz said.

Perhaps strong pitching will propel the Spartans against a very competitive All American Conference. The Red Tier is a terrible place to try to rejuvenate a program, but Mootz isn't ready to hand anything over to the other schools in the league.

"We set the bar high for myself and the girls," said Mootz. "The conference is tough with Canfield, Austintown (Fitch), Howland and Warren (Harding), but I really feel we can compete for a conference championship. I have a ton of confidence in my girls and we have worked extremely hard to prepare for game one."

 
 

 

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