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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Xavier’s softball team is dreaming big and looking forward to the future without forgetting the present.
Xavier’s 2016 team has 11 underclassmen and all have played a huge role in the team’s development. Sophomore Charlotte Richards thinks the younger teammates will be beneficial in the years to come.
“I think the experience we will have playing, we will really know how to play and work well together, and we will really connect,” Richards said.
Saints Coach Nikki Gahring feels these players are getting great experiences and growing their skills.
“Getting those experiences as a young player really gets rid of those nerves,” Gahring said. “It will only improve them for the years to come.”
Olivia and Charlotte Richards are numbers one and three in the Saints’ lineup. The sisters have been playing sports together for years, including volleyball and softball.
“We’ve been playing together for a very long time, probably about five to eight years,” Charlotte said.
The Richards sisters play very well together and push each other in both sports.
Charlotte has the best batting average on the team. Gahring said Richards has good skills.
“She sees the ball really well,” Gahring said. “She’s also got real quick hands. Those two things together make her a great player.”
While Charlotte does very well at the plate, she wants to help her other teammates feel confident in their game.
“I’m very talkative,” Charlotte said. “I like to keep my teammates up, whether that’s giving them high-fives or just cheering them on while they’re batting.”
While the Saints are excited for the years to come, they also will miss their four seniors leaving this year. Gahring believes the seniors bring the team together.
“They do a lot of team dinners, working with them back and forth and keeping everybody positive and focused at the same time,” Gahring said.
The Saints play at No. 1 Carlisle tonight in a Class regional final for a ticket to state.