Softball practices draw small crowd of players

BALDWIN — Veteran softball coach Bob Hilts had a busy practice going on Monday and Tuesday in the Baldwin Elementary School gym for the start of the 2012 season.

Games will begin the middle of next month for Baldwin, which plays in the West Michigan D League.

Hilts has 19 girls out for the team. He also coached the JV volleyball team in the fall.

“I’m looking forward to this, they’re all good athletes,” Hilts said. “This may be the beginning of a new thing. We had a lot of success in (junior varsity) volleyball. This is just going to be a start. I had eight freshmen that were all good volleyball players. Next year, it will be better, I’ll have the rest of the freshmen.”

Returning players for Baldwin include Gracie Lemieux, Kary Norman, Tabitha Reed and Ashley Roy.

“We have four weeks to get ready,” Hilts said. “We’re planning on being outdoors (Wednesday). It’s going to be 70 degrees. It gives you more room and you get a better feel of what it’s like. Batting is from a real perspective. It’s so much better.”

Fundamentals is a major emphasis right now.

“I have a lot of new girls,” he said. “We’ve got catching and pitching. I have a transfer from Walkerville, Nikki Frazier. Within a couple of weeks, she’ll be ready to go.”

It’s Hilts’ 17th year of coaching the team.

“We’re looking forward to a good start,” Hilts said. “I’m happy at what I’ve seen so far. Right now, it’s looking really good. I’m very pleased.”