Grandview Heights Roundup: Bobcats' young softball roster looks to gain experience

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Grandview senior Maggie Lyon hits in the batting cage during practice March 19. The Bobcats have a young roster that includes seven freshmen and two sophomores.

Kristy Mason has inherited a young group of players in her first season as Grandview Heights softball coach.

Mason was an assistant for two seasons under previous coach Tori Lynch. She also led the program from 2002-08.

“Tori asked me to be an assistant so I came back and I really enjoyed it,” Mason said. “We have a young team with seven of our 16 players being freshmen and two more are sophomores.”

The Bobcats have four seniors in outfielders Maggie Lyon and Millie McNamara, shortstop Emma Murphy and Sami Swartz, a Mount Union commit who plays catcher and pitches.

Despite not playing last year after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the season, Murphy said she had dynamic role models who will help her be a good leader for the younger players.

“I had a lot of strong women to look up to when I was a freshman and sophomore, and I’ve been around varsity for a long time,” Murphy said. “I’ve learned the ropes, so it’s been a little easier to step into the leadership role and become a role model for the girls coming up. I want them to think of me the way I thought of (2020 graduate) Claire Bower and (2018 graduate) Kayleigh Grindley, and I want to be a person they can look up to.”

Swartz said she and her fellow seniors have been working on the fine points of the game with the underclassmen.

Sami Swartz, a Mount Union commit who plays catcher and pitches, is one of four senior leaders for the Bobcats.

“During open gyms and practices we’ve been helping the younger girls with their throwing,” Swartz said. “A lot of times they’ll throw sidearm and we try to correct that by having them take the ball over their shoulder. We also work on having them call the ball in the field so they’ll know who’s going to catch it.”

Simone Chordas (3B), Ava Cunningham (INF/OF) and Maddie Hollar (OF/P) are juniors. The sophomores are Delaney Long (INF/OF) and Aylish O’Harra (P), who may handle much of the pitching duties.

The freshmen are Eleanor Kukura (INF/OF), Taryn Lynaugh (1B/P), Ireland McCloy (OF), Mattie Messmer (OF), Eryn O’Harra (C/OF), Sam Reichert (INF/OF) and Savina Reo (C/1B).

“We have seven freshman and missing last season really hurt them,” Mason said. “They all played in the seventh grade, but they lost their eighth-grade season. Some of them have played travel softball, but they’ve never before played at the high school level.

“Having so many young players can be both a blessing and a curse. You have the chance to work with them for four years, but they’re young and are going to have to learn from their mistakes.”

With that in mind, Mason wants to make sure her players continue to stay upbeat and learn as the season goes along.

“We want to keep everyone positive,” she said. “Last year, we didn’t have a team and this year we will. We want to pick up where we left off (in the preseason last year) before the season was canceled. We want everyone to continue to improve.”

INSIDE THE BOBCATS

Coach: Kristy Mason, first season 

Next game: April 2, at Centennial

Key athletes: Simone Chordas, Maggie Lyon, Millie McNamara, Emma Murphy, Aylish O’Harra and Sami Swartz

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen