Katie Speakman was excited to be named coach of the Hilliard Davidson High School softball program shortly after Angelo Forte announced his resignation May 17.

Katie Speakman was excited to be named coach of the Hilliard Davidson High School softball program shortly after Angelo Forte announced his resignation May 17.

She is even more excited now after the Wildcats went 5-0 in scrimmages this summer.

"We've got good experience returning and a good, younger core," said Speakman, who was a varsity assistant last season and has been the j.v. coach during her seven seasons at Davidson. "We had great overall team effort and the new, younger kids stepped up and helped us produce wins."

Forte stepped down after 15 seasons with the Wildcats and a 23-year coaching career.

"I think Katie will do a great job and I had been thinking about stepping down but wanted to make sure we had someone in place," Forte said. "She has great communication skills and she played college softball."

Davidson finished 11-14 overall last season after losing to Pickerington North 5-2 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The Wildcats beat Northland 11-0 in the first round. Davidson went 6-8 in the OCC-Central Division to finish fourth as Central Crossing (13-0) won.

Speakman played softball at Grandview and Denison University, where she graduated in 2003. She teaches Spanish at Davidson.

"I think I am personable with the girls and I know the game, and I think communication is my strength," she said. "I am very excited and am looking forward to working with the kids and parents."

Forte's Davidson teams won seven league titles and had at least one all-state performer in 13 seasons. The 2001 team reached a state semifinal and finished 29-4.

"We want to continue to improve the program," Speakman said. "We want to build onto the tradition and take the program even higher. That's always the goal -- to improve on the past."