Softball

‘It’s going to be a fun ride’ — CCS softball starts season with doubleheader sweep of Northwest

When Kristin Clausing took over the Cincinnati Christian Schools softball program during the offseason, one of the main focuses was to get her Cougars connected.

“The whole month of March in practice, we took a lot of time to really learn how to be a team and communicate,” Clausing said. “We’ve done a lot on how to communicate with one another.”

It showed Saturday.

Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Stacy threw two complete games, and Cincinnati Christian powered its way to a pair of run-rule victories — 12-2 and 16-6 — over Northwest, giving Clausing her first wins as a varsity head coach.

Clausing was an assistant coach last year on a CCS squad that went 9-9, so the Cougars are familiar with her coaching ways. Since the canceled COVID season in 2020, Cincinnati Christian has gone 21-31.

The Cougars have only had one losing season since 2008, which was a recent 1-14 performance in 2022.

“I’m excited about this season,” Clausing said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. They get along with each other. They want to play. Teenagers are teenagers. You’re going to have your days.

“But all in all, playing softball is one thing — it’s learning about how to be a part of a team and working together that will take you through the rest of your life.”

Clausing said this year’s roster is filled with veterans, newcomers and everything in between.

CCS has five seniors and return seven players from last season. Those coming back are seniors Seleste Brinker, Kaitlyn Trissell, Reese McCord and Reese Green, junior Naomi Updegrove, and sophomores Anna Bowling and Tatum Mayer. Brinker tied the school’s single season record for doubles with 13 in 2023.

“It’s going to be a fun ride,” said Clausing, who helped coach with current assistant coach Tim Culbertson last year. Hannah Randall is on as an assistant coach this season.

“These girls know us,” Clausing said. “We all worked really well together last year and really tried to lead the team in a lot of ways. We’re working to build off that this season.”

Clausing also said she’s excited to put a feeder system back in place. The Cougars now have a junior high team. 

“We’ve got to get girls who are playing early on and coming up. We’re working on getting a junior varsity team established,” Clausing said. “On a varsity level, we need to get girls who are ready to play when they get here and bring up more talent that has been in the game. I think we’re on our way.”

Clausing said she was pleased with how her squad competed in the doubleheader against Northwest on Saturday and that it should create some early momentum.

“We’re excited. They were happy at the end of the games,” Clausing said. “They acknowledged that there’s a couple things that we need to work on just like any team. You play a game, and you see your weaknesses. You see some areas that you need to improve on.

“But I was encouraged by how they played and encouraged by their sportsmanship throughout the games. To me, character is important, and sportsmanship is a priority to me. So, I was excited to see how they responded to different situations.”

The Cougars (2-0) play their home games at Waterworks Park in Fairfield. They’ll host Purcell Marian at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I think after today, we’re going to be in a good position to get better,” Clausing said. “They talked a lot even when there were a couple times when we were getting down a bit. They talked to each other. They knew what to do. They knew where to go. That was really encouraging to see.”

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