Friday, September 22, 2023

New coach, new attitude at Harvey

Betsy Hada returns to her alma mater with the intention of turning around the softball program.

Hada, a 1997 Harvey graduate, inherits a team that finished winless in 2018 but she’s excited about her squad’s potential in 2019.

“This spring will be an excellent opportunity for our athletes to show what a great offseason will do for a team’s success,” she said. “The coaching staff is instilling the will to win from top to bottom, and we plan on making vast strides this season. I am excited to see what lies ahead.”

Harvey returns just four starters but several promising newcomers have filled the lineup with promise.

“We have expanded our roster with some quality young players. We think the combination of veterans and newcomers will make us a much-improved team this year,” Hada said. “I am enthusiastic about this group of incoming freshmen and new upperclassmen. With so many open positions, this group has an opportunity to come in and make a huge impact right away.”

Included among the projected starters are five seniors, which should provide the Red Raiders with quality leadership.

Areli Martinez will split the catching duties with freshman Mira DiPierro. Ricora Echols will play first, Alex Riddle will line up at shortstop, Areli Martinez will compete with DiPierro at third.

“Areli Martinez will make a significant impact for us behind the plate or playing third base,” Hada said. “She understands the different personalities of her pitching staff and how to help them be successful come game day. Areli is well-respected by her teammates and coaching staff. She is willing to hold the rope for our team when we need her the most.”

Junior Payton Kalina is projected in right field and sophomore Tressa Overbey will play center. That leaves sophomores Keristin Cruz and Adrienne DiPierro to battle it out for the job at second base.

“Our biggest strength this season comes for the versatility of our players,” Hada said. “It allows everyone an opportunity to contribute in a way that best suits the teams need in a given game, which in turn helps us gain the upper hand over our opponents. The versatility that we will bring to the field comes from the hard work and dedication that everyone associated with the program has put in, both on the field and in the classroom since the year began.”

Samantha Tackett has left field locked down.

Samantha Tackett brings a wealth of experience of producing under pressure both on and off the field. She can be easy underestimated because of her size, but do not take her for granted. She will be a spark for us at the top of our lineup this year. I could not ask for a better example to lead our young team this season.

Cruz, freshman Rachael Boykin and sophomore Morghan Musselman will all see time in the circle for the Red Raiders.

“We have stepped up the accountability level and everyone has bought into changing the outlook of the program,” Hada said. “With senior leadership and fundamental improvements, we are geared up and ready to take on the year. The only obstacle holding us back this season is our lack of varsity experience. We have the athletic ability and team-first mentality to put Harvey back on the map. We will improve that every turn as the season progresses. Do not underestimate us this year.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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