Ray Loeser knows he inherited a good situation when he took over the University of Charleston softball program. That was reinforced Wednesday afternoon as his Golden Eagles swept Concord in a doubleheader, 4-1 and 12-4.
The Eagles improved to 26-14 overall, 14-2 in the West Virginia Conference, and solidified their second-place standing with 10 regular-season games left. They were picked seventh in the league's preseason poll.
For now, Loeser is winning with the players recruited by previous coach Annette Olenchick, without exception. He was comfortable with that when he was hired last August.
"I'm not responsible for any of these kids," Loeser said. "I took over and honored the 19 scholarships and the two walk-ons. Before I got here, the program still won. It's not like you're taking over a program that was 5-40."
Loeser came to UC after four seasons as the assistant coach at Arkansas Tech, where he helped lead the Golden Suns won three Gulf South Conference division titles. And yes, Arkansas Tech is the same school basketball coach Mark Downey came from.
"He called and said, 'Hey, are you interested?' and I said, 'Yeah,'" Loeser recalled. "I applied for the job and interviewed and, lo and behold, I got it."
Early home runs put UC ahead for good in both games, with Janeen Vasquez striking in the first game and Logan Tretick smacking a first-inning shot in the nightcap. Vasquez, hitting a team-high .438 with 24 RBIs, also smacked three doubles in the second game.
The two local products among the starters are Winfield's Ashlea Wallace, a four-year starter at shortstop, and Nitro sophomore Angela Withrow, who played designated hitter and third base Wednesday. Withrow has five home runs, second on the team behind Aspen Eichelmeier's six.