Giants ready to hit the diamond

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Brooklynn Sharp, staff writer

Danny Kollada is happy to finally have a “normal” softball season.

Two years ago in his first season as head varsity coach, the season was cancelled before it began due to Covid. Last season, Kollada and his team still battled Covid protocols as they tried to learn how to play together. This year, Kollada has had a full year of offseason conditioning to prepare for the season, which begins today with a preseason scrimmage at home (5:30 p.m.)

The Giants return a strong nucleus led by senior shortstop Kansas Robinson, who has already signed to play softball next year at Northwestern University.

Other top returners include senior Bailey Wilhite, junior Haven Papineau, senior Leah Willige and sophomore Devyn Hamilton.

“I hope we have offensive dominance,” Kollada said. “I would like the team to be a hitting threat throughout the lineup.  Not just the first five hitters, but all nine need to be a threat for opponents.”
Kollada said the offseason has been good to his team.
“The softball program has had quite a few athletes come out,” he said. “The workouts have been well attended and it’s a step in a positive direction.”
Kollada is pleased in his senior leadership.
“Kansas (Robinson) is a dominant player,” Kollada said. “Every scouting report from a rival will confirm this.  What’s awesome about our program currently is there’s another senior leader who compliments the leadership of Kansas well.  Ask any player who attended offseason workouts, Bailey Wilhite has been a major contributor to the culture of our program.”
Pitching is key in softball and Kollada hopes to have a surprise in that position.
“Devyn Hamilton is our go-to pitcher with Cheyenne Daniel acting as potential relief,” Kollada said.  “I am hopeful that Leah Willige will be cleared to pitch from an almost season-ending injury.”
After tonight’s preseason scrimmage, the Giants host Decatur Central on Tuesday and then are off until visiting Avon on April 5.