Kwoka's '9' has five softball games scheduled next week
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The Lockport Lady Lions softball team has plenty to look forward to next week when it resumes its 2014 Niagara Frontier League schedule in a big way, with five games on tap.
This year’s extended winter has forced the postponement of most local high school spring sports contests so far for schools without state-of-the-art, all-weather facilities — including Lockport, as local athletics directors, including Lockport’s Patrick M. Burke, have been busy scheduling and rescheduling games.
Lady Lions head coach Julie Kwoka’s team (1-0 NFL, 1-0-1 overall) will resume their league slate at 4:45 p.m. Monday with a game at North Tonawanda — weather permitting of course. On Tuesday, the Lady Lions will play their home opener against Grand Island (4:45 p.m.) at their new field next to the tennis courts behind the high school. Head coach Fae Schielke’s LHS junior varsity Lady Cubs will play at the former varsity field along Locust Street.
Other league games scheduled next week for the LHS varsity softball team are at Kenmore West (4:45 p.m. Thursday); and at Niagara Falls (4:45 p.m. Friday). The Lady Lions are also scheduled to play at the Starpoint Tournament (noon, Saturday).
Kwoka’s “9” is coming off a 6-8 NFL season a year ago. Key losses to graduation are All-Western New York and all-everything infielder Allie Cavagnaro and catcher Kelly Anderson.
Key returners include starting pitcher and co-captain Megan Schneider, the team’s only senior. Schneider picked up the win and smacked two hits and three RBIs to help her own cause in Lockport’s 10-9 opening day win at Lewiston-Porter’s artificial turf field last week.
Returning for her third varsity season is the team’s other captain, Jordyn Kwoka, one of eight LHS juniors on the roster. Other key returners include junior starters Alyssa Wagner and Delaney Fragale; and sophomore shortstop Leah VanDenBosch.
Freshman infielder/outfielder Kayla Joseph had a solid debut as well for Lockport, opening her varsity career with a solid single to right field on the first pitch, finishing 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
“Kayla’s been working real hard and has tons of potential,” Kwoka said.
Among Lockport’s key opponents in 2014 will be Kenmore West, Grand Island and Niagara-Wheatfield, she said.
“I don’t know that we have any power hitters this year. There’s no Kelly McKeevers or Emily Belfields,” Kwoka said. “Leah hits the ball well. Everybody else just needs to make good contact with the ball and swing at good pitches.
“Ken West is always a tough team to play. We finished in the middle of the pack last year and I want to finish at least that high this year. But we have some growing to do if we hope to finish in the middle.”