Softball bar is set high after last season’s success
Junior shortstop Macie Price completes the relay throw to first place for a double play during practice on Wednesday.
By Rod Haxton, editor
After getting the most wins in a single season in school history (18) and narrowly missing a trip to the state tournament, what does the Scott Community High School softball team do for an encore?
“The girls know they have a really good
chance of getting to state. I just have to remind them there are a lot of games to be played before that can happen,” says head coach Erin Myers.
And some questions that need to be answered.
Even though the Lady Beavers return five starters from last year’s 18-4 squad, they lost some key players.
The biggest impact will be felt at the plate where they lost four of their top six hitters - three to graduation and another who moved.
The top returning bats are being swung by senior Krystal Appel (.514, 37 hits, 5 triples) and junior Kaitlyn Roberts (.492, 31 hits, 7 doubles). They are followed closely by senior Nancy Wiebe (.481, 25 hits, 8 doubles) and junior Bailey Latta (.432, 32 hits).
“We’ll definitely be counting on Krystal for power. If she doesn’t hit three or four home runs I’ll be surprised,” says Myers.
“She’s stronger and she’s been working on her swing during the off-season. She’s changed it some and from what we’ve seen in the few practices we’ve had I think it’s going to work well for her.”
Appel and newcomer Macie Price will likely be hitting in the No. 3 or No. 4 spots. Price, who played at Dodge City last season, is a welcome addition to the squad and will be effective at the plate and in the field.
Latta will probably be hitting at the top of the order because of her ability to get on base.
“She’s very hard to strike out. She keeps the defense wondering because she can hit well and she can also put down a bunt for a hit,” notes Myers.
Roberts and Wiebe also have the capability of hitting for average or for power which gives the Lady Beavers the ability to score a lot of runs.
Last year, the Lady Beavers averaged 10.5 runs per game and matching that production could be a challenge early in the season.
“We have some young girls with big shoes to fill,” Myers says. “It’s probably going to take me a few games to settle on our batting order.”
Defense is Solid
The SCHS defense could be very stingy, led by Price at shortstop.
“Nicole (Latta) was very good last year, but Macie’s the best shortstop I’ve had the chance to coach,” Myers says. “She has good range and a very strong arm. She’s got the ability to be a very special player.”
Latta returns at third base and Roberts will play second base when she’s not on the mound.
The right side of the infield will be a concern for the Lady Beavers as they search for another second baseman when Roberts is unavailable and first base is wide open. The top prospects at first base appear to be sophomore Kaitlyn Wolkensdorfer and freshman Lyndi Rumford.
The number-one catcher to start the season is sophomore Aspyn Nix with Wiebe also getting some work behind the plate.
Appel will be in centerfield and will be joined by Wiebe. Battling for the other outfield position at this time are senior Karen Hermosillo and sophomore Kally Kough.
Roberts on the Mound
Roberts was the team’s ace last season, finishing with a 3.82 ERA along with 37 strikeouts.
Even though she hasn’t pitched for the past two seasons, Latta will also have some duties on the mound.
“She’s a competitor and once she gets settled in she’ll do fine,” Myers says.
Other prospects include Kearston Buffington, Rumford, Gabby Martinez, and Wolkensdorfer.
While there are several questions surrounding this year’s team, one thing that isn’t in question is their confidence.
“We’re starting the season with a different mindset,” says the head coach. “The girls did great last year, but they aren’t satisfied. Now they know what it’s like to win and their goal is to get to state.”
More confidence isn’t the only thing that will be different from last year.
“We’re going to be the team that everyone wants to beat,” adds Myers. “That’s something we have to be ready for every time we play.”
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