The Marion softball team will try to utilize returning experience and the quickness of newcomers to forge a successful season this spring.
“We have six seniors who are pretty solid and have experience,” said coach Jill Hudson, who returns with assistant coach Chad Atkins. “I expect good things out of them, and a lot of leadership from the seniors.”
Hudson mentioned senior Erin Brown, a transfer this year from Wichita, as a player who will make significant contributions to the team.
“She brings a lot of experience, she brings a lot of positive leadership,” Hudson said. “She really fell into that leadership role well.”
The Warriors also will look to Sarah Guetersloh and Alex Cain for strong hitting. Cain had the highest batting average for the Warriors last year.
Marion will count on Jordan Harper and Annie Whitaker for good fielding, and look to Rae Allen for a cool head and strong pitching.
“Rae Allen is a consistent pitcher,” Hudson said. “Rae is very in-control of her emotions and her game.”
The Warriors have some young talent who are expected to be contributers.
“We’ve got some new, inexperienced players that are coachable,” Hudson said. “They absorb everything, they execute the drills and mechanics that you teach them. I really like that.
“These younger girls are competitors,” she added. “They want to win. They want to succeed, they want to do well. They’re invested in it.”
Marion freshman Megan Richmond is a pitcher who contributes game savvy and athleticism to the mix.
“She brings quickness, and she brings a good knowledge of the game for a freshman,” Hudson said. “She’s another one who is just absorbing everything, is a quick learner and has athleticism.”
Hudson said the freshmen have speed, but do not always have a good understanding of the game.
She said the Warriors will be working on playing “small ball” and taking advantage of base running opportunities, as well as improving at the plate.
“They struggled with hitting last year, so we’re doing a lot of hitting drills,” Hudson said. “Hitting is what we really need to see improve.”
She said the team needs to work on their mental focus, and not allowing it to slip away under pressure.
Hudson said if her players come to practice with a purpose, a positive attitude and hustle, that’s really all she expects as a coach.
“As far as our season goes, I don’t really know what to expect because we’re in a new league,” she said, referring to the new Heart of America league.
“I don’t know what to expect from other teams. We’ll just work hard and get after it when we get on the field.