CROWN POINT | With snow on the ground and much more looming in the western sky, a new era of Crown Point softball began on Monday.
The Bulldogs opened their season with new coach Ginger Britton taking over after a tumultuous spring last year.
Last April, former coach Brett Crutchfield was put on paid leave last April after an investigation was started for misconduct. The sixth-year coach resigned in May, then in July a student filed a lawsuit against Crutchfield and Crown Point schools.
Britton and her players were upbeat on Monday and sure Crown Point softball is no longer looking into the rearview mirror. The future looks bright for the program that got into the Class 4A Top 10 last spring before the chaos began.
“I don't see that in the forefront,” Britton said. “I think all of that is in the way, way back. I think what's on our girls minds is losing a tough game in the sectional final.
“I think that's what is pushing them now. That is where their focus is.”
Crown Point had a lead on Chesterton with two outs in the last inning before the Trojans made a historic comeback and ended up advancing to semistate.
Britton had 38 players out Monday night, including six seniors who played a big part in last year's success and a move-in from Arizona with high expectations. Then there's freshman Miranda Elish, a standout pitcher who has already committed to play at Oregon.
“We have a lot of pitching depth and Miranda will be a big part of that,” Britton said. “We're very exciting for this season to begin.”
Britton, a 2000 Lowell grad, was that school's head coach in 2011 and an assistant at C.P. for six years.
“I can't believe our first game is in two weeks and there's snow on the ground,” senior Mandey Shrader said. “This was a good first practice. I think we're ready to play.”
Pitcher Siena Gyure said the players were comfortable with Britton, since she was the program's interim coach after Crutchfield was walked out of the school building in April.
“We love her,” Gyure said. “She's helped us with everything the last year. This is who we wanted to be our coach.
“We're expecting to have a very good season.”