Softball team returns two seniors
One of the more difficult things about being a high school coach is losing the most experienced players on the team to graduation at the end of the each season.
Graduation was especially tough on Tonganoxie High School's softball team.
As the team tries to improve on last year's 8-14 record, several big-time contributors from that team are gone.
Many of the team's leading batters Deaven Workman, Jenny Crain, Leslie Starcher and Rae Everett graduated. And they will be missed.
"The roughest part will be replacing the offense," Coach Mark Mall said. "We lost most of our run producers."
Workman finished last season with the second-best season batting average in school history (.427). Her 35 hits and three homers last year tied the school's high-water mark in both categories.
For her career, Workman finished in the top five in homeruns, RBI, doubles, hits and runs scored.
Crain batted .397 last season and her 29 hits put her just behind Workman at third place for hits in a season.
Starcher and Everett were strong all-around players throughout their careers. Last season Starcher batted .320 and drove in 10 RBI. Everett was second on the team in homers with two.
The team also lost last year's starting pitcher, Sammy Schiltz. She had 33 strikeouts in 12 games.
But things aren't all grim for the team. Mall said that he thought several returning players could have strong seasons.
Among them is Sarah Subelka, who had 19 RBI last season second best in school history.
The coach also will be looking to Kim Newton, who connected for five doubles last season. Those doubles were also good enough for second in school history.
Heather Beach is another player who could have a good season. She came up big in the post-season last year, batting 2-4 against Jefferson West, which the team beat 9-6 in the first round of regional play.
Mall said that last year's junior varsity pitcher Laura Samuels and freshman Katie Jeannin could help fill the void left by Schiltz.
Add to the mix the experience and leadership of two returning seniors Kristin Korb and Megan Bundy and the team's chances at making a good run this season don't seem so bad after all.
The softball team's initial game of the 2001 season is scheduled for March 29 against Jefferson West in Tonganoxie.