Back for another swing
Tonganoxie softball team set to return after going 13-7 last season
Senior catcher Andrea Korb's season was cut one game short when she broke her wrist in last year's 4A Regional quarterfinals against Jefferson West in Hiawatha.
In the semifinals Korb, the team's on-base percentage, home run, RBI and triples leader, was unavailable and the Chieftains endured a 4-0 defeat to Holton.
The loss ended a season that started 0-3 but finished 13-7.
This season, the Chieftains return with a small but important senior class featuring Korb and Kaw Valley League honorable mention members Kim Newton and Sarah Subelka.
Chieftain coach Mark Mall said those three players are off to a good start.
"My seniors have really been stepping up as leaders and are hitting the ball well," Mall said.
Korb, who joined the team as a junior, was the team's catcher last season who could handle other positions. Mall said Korb might be called on to change positions when the season starts later this month.
Subelka should see time between the outfield and at third, while Newton will provide stability at first base, Mall said. Newton signed a letter of intent at Kansas City Kansas Community College last month.
Tonganoxie also will rely on a younger player to produce on the mound.
Sophomore Katie Jeannin returns after making second team all-KVL as a pitcher last season. Jeannin posted an 11-7 record as a freshman.
Mall sees many players with either strong hitting or fielding ability, but he hopes they can all perform well on both sides of the ball.
Tonganoxie could challenge in the league race, but Mall said the KVL has its share of strong teams. He looks for Piper and Santa Fe Trail to be favorites, with Mill Valley, Immaculata and possibly Tonganoxie in the hunt.
Mill Valley was last year's 4A State runner-up, dropping a 1-0 decision to Hayden after defeating Larned 4-1 in a 23-inning marathon. The Chieftains will meet the Jaguars on April 11 at Mill Valley.
Basehor-Linwood has also been a traditional contender, but the Bobcats lost standout pitcher Courtney Reed when she tore her right ACL and MCL during a basketball game in January. Reed will miss the entire season.
As for the Chieftains, they begin the season at home against Jefferson West on March 28. Tonganoxie returns after winning 11 of its last 14 games last season.
"We hope we can build on that," Mall said.
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