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IAC SOFTBALL: NEWARK VALLEY LOOKS TO IMPROVE, GROW (2022-03-29)

By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
NEWARK VALLEY — Newark Valley was expected to contend for an IAC championship in 2020, then COVID-19 hit.

That same year, Val Fischer joined the school’s modified program, but never had an opportunity to coach. Also the JV volleyball coach, she mentored the modified squad last year as well.

Now, with COVID in the past, Fischer steps up to take over the varsity squad.

With most of NV’s top players having graduated the past couple of years, she is looking to help the program grow and improve in 2022.

Fischer’s expectations for this season are “to improve as a team and the program as a whole.

“With the growing numbers this season we were able to bring back three teams; modified, JV and varsity. This will help younger players get more playing time and experience.”

NV’s key returners include junior centerfielder Hayley Beebe, an IAC honorable mention last season.

Also back are junior captain Mackenzie Malone, a shortstop and second baseman and senior captain Rachel Walker, who is expected to see time behind the plate and at third base.

Among the other junior returnees are Kalyna Graham at first base, Katie Berghorn at second base and in the outfield and Jasmine Graham on the hot corner.

Joslyn Wright, a sophomore, will handle the pitching duties and classmate Rae Mathewson will see time at catcher and in the outfield.

“The returning players are eager to get their chance in positions that were previously held by last year’s five graduating seniors,” said Fischer, “and newcoming freshmen Laura Ludwig (first base) and Kayden Rockwell (catcher / third base) are ready to show off why they were pulled up to varsity.”

Another promising newcomer to the roster is junior transfer Leah Austin Whittaker, a catcher / third baseman out of Edison.

Newark Valley starts the season off Thursday at S-VE, a veteran team which qualified for sectional last spring.

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IN PHOTO: NV’s Hayley Beebe. … TCSR STOCK PHOTO.

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