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  • Val T.

Overmyer takes over as Culver softball coach, emphasizes pitching as key


Sports Editor, RTC

PERU — J.B. Overmyer is the first-year softball coach at Culver, but he has a group of 10 seniors who have allowed themselves to dream about winning the first sectional title in school history.

South Central (Union Mills) has won eight sectionals in the last nine years – the only time they did not was the pandemic-canceled season of 2020 – and they advanced to the Class 1A state title game out of Culver’s sectional last year.

But South Central is now in Class 2A, changing the landscape of Class 1A, Sectional 50, which Westville will host from May 22-27.

Culver’s seniors are Maegan Pearl, Luci Overmyer, Kaitlyn Kanschat, Kaylee Hamilton, A.J. Hinds, Marissa Milam, Kaleigh Fritch, Abbi Kisela, Abby Sullivan and Nina Martin, and coach Overmyer said Pearl, Overmyer and Milam are team leaders.

“Luci being a catcher and Marissa being a pitcher, they’re the commanders on the field,” coach Overmyer said. “And Maegan’s a first baseman, and she’s one who talks a lot. They’ve been playing the most softball. They’ve been playing longer. And that’s why we chose them.”

Hinds, a lefty, is the most experienced pitcher and will start the majority of games, according to coach Overmyer, but Pearl, Milam and freshman Hayden Lute all saw time in the circle in a scrimmage against host Peru at Tiger North Athletic Complex Monday.

Fritch did not play in the scrimmage but will also pitch for the varsity.

Coach Overmyer said throwing strikes regardless of who is in the circle will be critical. Luci Overmyer, who is also his daughter, will have the job of framing the pitches from behind the plate.

“I wanted to see my pitchers throw strikes,” coach Overmyer said. “That’s going to be a big part of the season is the pitchers throw strikes. We’ve got a good defense and got some good bats. It’s going to come down to pitching for us.”

In addition to Lute, some of the non-seniors who played in the scrimmage included sophomore left fielder Zoey Hunnicutt, freshman outfielder Abigayle Zehner and freshman Gracie Milam, who saw time at both third base and catcher.

Offensively, coach Overmyer sees a team good at avoiding strikeouts. Luci Overmyer crushed a two-run triple to straight away center during the scrimmage.

“We’re a put-the-ball-in-play type of team,” coach Overmyer said. “We can do the small ball, and we do have some big hitters on here – a little combination of everything.”

This is Overmyer’s first varsity head coaching job, but he has known the varsity players going back to when he and assistant coach Will Milam started the middle school program at Culver.

Overmyer also has experience coaching 14-and-under and 16-and-under travel teams with the Rush organization based out of Fulton. He said going to tournaments every weekend during a typical summer exposed him to different strategies and coaching styles.

“The opportunity came, and it’s nice to be able to finish their careers here,” Overmyer said.

And when he took over, he asked his players what they hoped to accomplish.

“When we started the year, we had little note cards and said, ‘What do you want to get out of this season?’” coach Overmyer said. “And a lot of them were, ‘Win sectional.’ And with South Central out of there, I think it’s a good possibility.

“It’s up for grabs.”

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