PREBLE COUNTY — Soon softball fields across the county will be busy as the high school season is scheduled to begin this week. County teams have high hopes for successful seasons.
Coach: Derek Lee
Number of seasons as varsity head coach at your current school? First year.
Number of seasons as a varsity head coach overall and career record? First year as a varsity head coach but 25 years coaching girls fast pitch.
Last season’s record (overall and league): 15-9 overall 10-2 league, tied for first in the Cross County Conference.
How deep into the tournament did your team advance last year? Lost in the first round
Starters returning, positions and grade?
“We have seven returning starters: Ariel Lee, shortstop, senior and four year starter, CCC honorable mention; Bobbi Jean Grimes, outfield, junior; junior Savanna Abner, 3rd base, first-team all-conference and all-district team; junior Gracie Jones, catcher, second-team all conference; Kayleigh Minner, outfield, junior; Davlyn Werner, outfield/pitcher, sophomore; Makena Laird, 1st base, sophomore.”
Newcomers, with possible positions and grade: “We have three newcomers. Madison Hathaway, pitcher/outfielder, freshman; Molly Skinner, pitcher/outfielder, freshman; Lauren Sargeant, 2nd base, freshman.”
Thoughts and expectations about your respective league/conference and your chances? “The CCC has some tough competition and we finished in a four -way tie for the league last year. I feel that we have a great chance at being a top contender in the conference again this year. We will start off the season with two conference games against Bradford on Tuesday and Franklin Monroe on Thursday.”
Thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season overall? ”We have a great defensive and offensive team but it may come down to the young pitching on how well we do. We lost both starting pitchers from last year, so this will be the first time our three young pitchers have pitched at the high school level. As a team, they work well together and I look forward to having a successful season with this group of girls.”
Coach: Brian Stupp
Number of seasons as varsity head coach at your current school? 4th year at TCN
Number of seasons as a varsity head coach overall and career record? 4th year overall, 35 wins, 36 losses
Last season’s record (overall and league)? 13-11 overall, 5-7 league
How deep into the tournament did your team advance last year? “In sectional we were No. 3 seed, took by and chose to play on side to face No. 1 seed Franklin Monroe. We lost 3-2 to FM. They had an impressive tourney run making it to regional finals.”
Starters returning, positions and grade: Seven starters are returning from last year: Seniors: Cassie Stinson, Morgan Helman (2nd team CCC), Hailey Stupp and Kaitlin Heindl. Juniors: Taylor Green and Riley Cruse (1st team CCC). Sophomore: Avery Shank.
Newcomers, with possible positions and grade: Sophomore: Emily Norris. Five freshmen: Annabel Ferguson, Lexi Delong, Jaelyn Hawkins, Harli Music, and Sidney Jackson
Thoughts and expectations about your respective league/conference and your chances? “The CCC is a tough conference to get to No. 1, there are five or six solid programs that you must find a way to get past to achieve that #1 spot. Our chances are as good as any to be at the top with the group of girls I have this year.”
Thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season overall: “I’ve got an awesome group of student athletes this year. They’ve been working hard since our first open gym back in January. The mentality and work ethic of this team is impressive — we’re going to be able to reach a much higher level of training because of it. We’ve set the toughest regular season schedule since I’ve been there so these girls can be as prepared as possible for post season play. We haven’t made it out of sectionals in the three years I’ve been there, but I believe these girls have what it takes to change that. This should be an exciting year for the team and Lady Panther fans.“
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH