The Columbia High School softball program is built on winning under head coach Rhonda Major.
The Eagles finished with a record of 25-4 last season and won yet another Cahokia Conference crown, but there’s always something more to shoot for. Columbia lost in the regional championship game to Waterloo last season and is eager for redemption this spring.
With the loss of four valuable seniors from last year’s club — Taryn Pena, Kaylee Bastien, Caitlyn Touchette and Rachel Garcia — the 2016 Eagles will have to rely on youth to continue the winning tradition.
“We are young, but talented,” Major said. “We have a great group of girls who are working hard and I am confident in them to continue to get better each day. We also have some underclassman, which give us a lot of options. I am looking for them to step up and be an asset to our program as well.”
Among those returning for Columbia are seniors Kalli Farmer (.429, 32 runs scored in 2015), Brina Rujawitz (22-2, 2.64 ERA on the mound) and Sarah Wisneski, juniors Courtney Weilbacher (.447, 31 RBIs) and Kelly Metter (.395, five home runs, 31 RBIs) and sophomores Keeler VanBreusegen, Callie Wibbenmeyer, Chelsy Pena and sisters Whitney and Britney Edwards.
All saw some varsity playing time last year and will play a large role in this year’s season, Major said.
Rujawitz is coming off a successful season last year in the pitching circle and will be looked on to provide key innings in 2016. Moving from middle infield to catcher this season is Farmer, following in her older sister’s footsteps.
“As a coach, it is always a reassuring feeling to know your catcher and pitcher have a solid relationship and work extremely well together,” Major said. “This is definitely the case with senior catcher Kalli Farmer and Brina Rujawitz. They have a special relationship on and off the field.”
Weilbacher moves from outfield to shortstop this season, and her coach is excited about the change.
“Courtney Weilbacher will bring leadership as well as a great deal of talent at shortstop for us this season,” Major said.
Overall, the coach is optimistic that her team has the recipe for success and is looking forward to another winning season for the Eagles.
“I am confident we will be solid offensively as well as defensively,” she said.