East Troy High School’s Sophia Heimos pitches against Big Foot in the March 29 game. The girls shut out the Chiefs, 18-0. (Peter Mischka photo)

Girls welcome new head coach

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

Fans of the East Troy High School softball team will notice a new face in the third-base coaches box this season.

But she’s certainly no stranger to the program.

Jodi Kostuchowski, who is starting her fifth year with East Troy, takes over as the varsity head coach this spring from former longtime coach Greg Prince.

Kostuchowski was the head JV coach a season ago after serving three years as a varsity assistant. She also previously coached at Franklin and Jefferson high schools.

East Troy returns seven letterwinners from the 2017 squad that finished 8-13 overall and 7-10 in the Rock Valley Conference North Division.

The focus through the first three weeks for Kostuchowski and her assistants has been on building a foundation for the future, she said.

“We’ve decided to refocus our attention on building a solid foundation, so we are more competitive overall,” she said. “Ideally, (we will) end up in the upper half of the RVC standings.”

Leading the way are a trio of girls who earned All-RVC honors a season ago.

Juniors Sophia Heimos (pitcher, outfield) and Erin Rice (shortstop) were second-team picks in 2017, while senior Samantha Donohoue (pitcher, first base) also returns after she was named honorable mention. Donohoue is the only senior on the roster.

Rice and Heimos will serve as co-captains.

“The captains are an extension of the coaching staff to promote positivity and a unified team,” Kostuchowski said.

Also back after they earned a letter last year are sophomores Hailey Donohoue (third base, outfield), Danielle Rudolph (first base), Sarah Gilpatrick (second base) and Sydney Raddeman (centerfield).

Seeking their first varsity letter are sophomores Brielle Bird (outfield), Lauren Dufek (outfield), Camryn Rongstad (catcher, outfield); and freshmen Isabella Atkinson (catcher, outfield) and Megan Verbeten (third base, pitcher).

While it’s still early, Kostuchowski has seen plenty of positives from her young squad.

“Our strengths are a more resilient defense on our fundamentals, playing as a cohesive group, and our offense is energized with power,” she said.

New-look conference

The 2018 campaign marks a change in the RVC, as the two divisions have been combined into one. McFarland won the North Division title last year, while Beloit Turner won the South and advanced all the way to the WIAA Division 2 state final, where it fell to Rice Lake.

Turner returns five girls who earned first-team honors last year and should be a favorite again, Kostuchowski said, along with McFarland.

“Usually Beloit Turner and McFarland are consistent, quality competition,” she said.

Assisting Kostuchowski are Jim Schubert with the varsity and Todd Metcalf and Tony LaShay with the JV.

East Troy opened the season a week ago with a conference split against Big Foot. The Trojans fell, 3-0, at Big Foot on March 27, but bounced back in a big way with an 18-0 victory over the Chiefs two days later.

 

 
 

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