Baldwin girls open next week at Crossroads

BALDWIN —  Spring break is over and the Baldwin girls softball team is ready to play ball.

Coach Bob Hilts’ team has been outside all week, taking advantage of the weather, which in past weeks usually kept the Panthers in the gym.

Practices have been going on since March 9 although there was a slowdown last week during spring break. Hilts is preparing his girls for a season that starts Monday at Crossroads Charter Academy. The team was able to get some work in over the break.

It’s the third straight season the Panthers have played at Crossroads, but Hilts is hoping his squad has as strong of a season on the road as at home. When it comes to pitching, Hilts has liked the progress being made by freshman Riley Drilling.

“She’s probably our youngest pitcher,” he said. “She’ll be a factor.”

Junior Mikayla George will be back as No. 1, while twin sisters Marissa and Marlena Wroblewski also are expected to see some pitching action.

Hilts has 20 girls on his roster. There’s no JV team although he’s hoping to perhaps have some junior varsity outings against other schools.

It’s still a young team with seniors Waniesha Newman in the outfield and Miranda Roberts at first base.

“We’re looking good,” said Hilts, who likes the freshman talent he has including Diamond Cannon.

The main thing for the Panthers is getting more experience through more game-time. Poor weather canceled several games last season and didn’t give Hilts too much time to work on getting the team to improve.

“Last season was disappointing,” Hilts said. “There’s a lot of games this season..”

That factor, Hilts hopes, will make his team stronger by the end of the year.

Freshman catcher Kiera Barker and junior utility player Mikayla Higbee also will be key players for the Panthers.