Replacing a starting pitcher in softball is rarely an enviable task for a coach, and even less so when the vacancy was left by a five-year starter and All-State caliber player. Such was the case for Pella Christian head coach Nate Van Wyk as the 2012 season was about to open.
With no real experience to call upon, Van Wyk thought it might be a “pitch-by-committee” type of season, but soon learned that Shannon Fynaardt and Taylor Hartson had more than prepared themselves to fill roles within the pitcher’s circle.
“Shannon put in the work in the offseason to kind of assert herself as that number one [pitcher]. We gave Taylor a few innings on varsity – the role that she had was almost more of a ‘stopper’ or a closer type role – which fits her personality. She is so even-keeled; she doesn’t get too high, she doesn’t get too low – so that spot is perfect for her,” said Van Wyk.
“I thought the girls did a fantastic job of learning and getting better, and understanding what it takes to pitch at the varsity level.”
Pella Christian worked their way through a gruelling schedule and with a number of young players filling key roles to finish 7-22 overall and 3-9 in the Little Hawkeye Conference.