There’s a learning curve for players and coaches whenever a new coaching staff takes over a program.
And it’s the case whether the coach is a first-year newcomer or an established winner.
That’s the task facing Annette Olenchick as she settles in for her first season as South Charleston High School’s softball coach.
Olenchick, one of the most successful softball coaches in state history, led Sissonville to six Class AA state titles from 1995-2002, and is trying to lay the same winning foundation with the Black Eagles.
That hasn’t been overnight process at South Charleston, with the Black Eagles sitting a 1-3 this season, including a tough 3-2 home loss to Logan (1-0) Thursday night. Overall, however, Olenchick has been pleased with what she’s seen.
“The energy level is here and the excitement,” Olenchick said. “We want to teach them the game and teach them fundamentals. We’re still struggling with throwing the ball properly, bunting the ball, running base ... it’s just kind of a work in progress.
“We’re going to keep working hard and we’re going to get better. They have the skills. The skills are here and they all play ball, they all take individual hitting lessons, so they’re 100 percent softball. They’re just making mistakes right now that are fixable. We fix them and we’re right there.”
The Black Eagles committed four errors, including three in the first three innings that Logan turned into a 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats dented the plate with no outs in the third when Taylor Napier scored on an infield throwing error. Logan scored again two batters later when Aaron Ward’s single scored Summer Collins.
“We made some mistakes, but we played pretty good,” Logan coach Randy Robinette said. “I thought we played hard and that’s all I can ask of this group. We’re an improving ballclub with a lot of starters back with some experience.
“We were a little jittery today, but we hit the ball well and played pretty good defense overall. We took advantage early of their mistakes with some bunts that they didn’t play correctly and then we got some nice timely hitting, so it was a good ballgame.”
Ward worked the first four innings for the Wildcats to earn the win before giving way to reliever Hana Sedlock, who worked the final three innings for the save.
South Charleston, hitless through the first three innings, touched Ward up for four hits and two runs in the fourth inning.
Kaylee Stanley stared the inning with a single, and after a sacrifice bunt by SC pitcher Amanda McDonald, came around to score on an RBI single by Olivia Orcutt. A Logan error and a wild pitch advanced Orcutt to third, and she scored on a pinch-hit single by Jeri Potter.
Orcutt and Jazmine Martin led the Black Eagles with two hits apiece.
Logan scratched the winning run across the plate in the fifth inning, when Taylor Napier reached on an error and came around to score on an RBI double by Hannah Kolovich.
Sedlock secured the win by retiring nine of the 11 batters she faced.