The Woodridge varsity softball team generally has just 10 players in uniform.
Bulldogs 14th-year coach Dan Schneider doesn’t fret over a limited bench because his starters have been so good this season.
Woodridge (22-2, 12-0) recently won the Portage Trail Conference County Division championship and is the No. 1 seed in the Akron Division II sectional/district at Firestone Stadium.
Senior Amy Donze is the Bulldogs’ standout as a 5-foot-10 pitcher/first baseman and No. 3 hitter in the batting lineup.
Donze, a Malone University recruit, tossed a no-hitter against East Canton and has several double-digit strikeout games.
Schneider said Donze’s eight shutouts this season have come against Windham, Southeast, Mogadore, Manchester, Garrettsville, Rootstown, Westlake and East Canton.
Donze has a 20-1 record, an 0.87 ERA and 275 strikeouts in 133⅓ innings. She also has a .595 batting average, five home runs, 30 RBI and 32 runs scored.
“Amy has really come on this year,” Schneider said. “She has always been very talented. Her maturity level this year has really made a difference. She has always had the physical talent, but this year she has really matured and stayed composed. She is the glue that has held us together.”
The Bulldogs are far from a one-person team, though, with three other players batting at or better than .500. Schneider’s nieces, senior catcher Heather Schneider and freshman first baseman Sammie Schneider, are also solid along with junior shortstop Erica Huntsman.
Heather Schneider is batting .520 with 14 RBI and 23 runs. Sammie Schneider is hitting .515 with 30 RBI and 18 runs. Huntsman checks in at .500 with 11 RBI and 26 runs.
“We have seven out of nine players in our batting order that are batting over .300 and a team batting average around .400,” Dan Schneider said.
Seniors Amanda Green and Allison King have also been key starters for Woodridge along with sophomores Meridith Chopka and Samantha Oesterle, and freshman Alexys Rahim. Sophomore Mikayla Johns is the Bulldogs’ top reserve.
“They are an experienced group,” Dan Schneider said. “They play together. Our seniors have all contributed at Woodridge since they were freshmen. We were struggling and they came in as players. We needed them to play at a young age and they have gotten valuable experience.”
The Woodridge softball team also has a strong Schneider presence on the coaching staff with Dan’s brother John and Dan’s daughter Danielle. Kim Caldwerwood is the only non-Schneider on the coaching staff.
Dan, 52, said he and his wife, Linda, coached their daughters Nichole, Danielle and Courtney at the youth level and then he coached them in high school.
Track and field madness
Several area track and field teams will take part in their league championship meets this weekend before competing at district events next week.
The City Series championship meet is scheduled for Friday night at Ellet, and it is expected to feature the teams from Buchtel and Firestone.
Buchtel won the girls regular-season title with a 6-0 dual record, and Firestone won the boys regular-season title with a 6-0 dual mark.
The Buchtel boys and the Firestone girls teams have both won two consecutive post-season championships at Ellet.
Some of the top athletes to watch Friday include: Romello Cook and Emani Griffin of Buchtel, Richard Fields of East, Dominique Ziroulo and Charnae Coleman of Kenmore, Dakota King of Ellet, Stacie Heller of Garfield and Sarah Meek and Brooke Morgan of Firestone.
Ellet baseball wins City
The Ellet (19-6, 11-0) baseball team clinched the City Series regular-season championship with an 18-2 victory over East on Monday.
Orangemen senior Nick Liston hit a single, double and home run against the Dragons. He also knocked in seven runs and scored three times. Seniors Tyler Simcox and Aaron Male were also key hitters. Junior Andrew Myers and sophomore Zack Artis provided the pitching for Ellet.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.