by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Considering its success in recent years, it's hard to believe that such a thing can happen.
But it is a reality for the Hudson softball team.
For the third consecutive year, the Lady Explorers will be led by a different voice.
Don Sewell takes over at Hudson after former coach Beth Cinadr resigned for personal reasons after just one season.
Sewell was the head coach at Laurel School in Shaker Heights from 2009 to 2013.
Sewell will lead a team that finished 6-16 overall and 2-8 in the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division. Stow Munroe Falls won the River division title last year.
"I'm sure it's difficult to adjust to another new way of doing things," Sewell said.
The Lady Explorers lost five seniors, including starters Shelby Bitter, a third baseman, Kelly Gough (second baseman) and Aislinn Sharkey (catcher), to graduation.
But Hudson has six seniors back in the lineup. All of them are expected to be in the starting lineup.
"We expect our seniors to be the glue and hold things together," Sewell said.
The senior captains are Emily Hookway (third baseman), Nicole Means (centerfielder) and Shayna Smith (right-handed pitcher/first baseman).
Other seniors include left-handed pitcher/first baseman Lexi Dorr, left fielder Katie Maggio and shortstop Erika Howard.
"Our strength will be how well the team gets along with each other," Sewell said. "They are focused on team achievements. Having six seniors, we have focused on leaving the program at Hudson better than they found it."
The lone junior on the team is second baseman Annie Dowell. The sophomore class comprises Sydney Coleman (catcher/shortstop), Eden Janesch (outfielder/catcher) and Nikki Turner (right-handed pitcher).
Also on the team are freshmen Maddie Sullivan (outfielder) and Sara Gedeon (outfielder/third baseman/right-handed pitcher).
Sewell's assistants are Divina Minch, who was Sewell's assistant at Laurel and Alyssa Brown, a 2009 Hudson graduate who played for the 2007 state championship team and the 2009 team that was the state runner-up.
The junior varsity coaches are Caroline Ujvari and Mike Smith.
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to make their debut against NOC rival Parma Normandy March 31 at home. They are set to visit NOC foe Strongsville April 2. Both varsity games are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.