Joco Sports

Olathe East softball team returns more talent this season

Updated: 2013-04-10T20:05:52Z

By JULIE KUHLMAN

Special to The Star

Ridiculous.

That’s how Olathe East softball coach Jeff Hulse described the success the program has had since Hulse became an assistant coach in 1998. Fifteen regional titles since then, 13 Sunflower League titles and seven 6A state championship trophies.

“We've experienced a great amount of success here,” Hulse said. “It's all due to having an outstanding work ethic and a great group of girls year in and year out.”

Since Hulse became head coach in 2000, he’s instilled in his team that the expectation is to win the league, win regionals and win state.

“It's now pretty much a tradition here to win,” Hulse said. “This year will be no different.”

Despite losing six seniors from last year’s state championship team, Hulse returns four starters, including two of the top pitchers in the state. Senior all-state pitcher Jenni Brooks, who has already signed with Wichita State, returns, as well as junior Allison Stewart, who was named Kansas’ Gatorade player of the year last year. Stewart has signed with Alabama.

Hulse also has a talented group of underclassmen he thinks will step in immediately and keep the success going.

“That is one thing we've been able to do well is replace talent and good players with more talent,” Hulse said. “We take a lot of pride in this program, and the older kids instill the winning attitude with the younger kids. So they are able to take over and keep the tradition going.”

There is no doubt in Hulse's mind his team should be defending last year's state title.

“We should make another run,” Hulse said. “We're incredibly blessed with talent, and it's what we've come to expect.”

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