Written by Katie Morford Tuesday, 27 March 2012 15:07
The Marion softball team will depend on young but hard-working players to make up for a lack of upperclassmen this season.
“We have a bunch of young girls who are working really hard,” said Chad Adkins, who moves up to head coach after being an assistant.
“We’ve asked them to do some things they’re not real fond of, and they’ve done everything we asked,” Adkins said. “They’re working really hard.”
The main challenge will be a lack of numbers, Adkins said. He won’t have enough players to field a junior varsity team.
Marion will rely heavily on its sophomores and juniors. The Warriors only have one senior returning and gained just two freshmen from a small class of nine.
“We’re not very big,” Adkins said. “But our sophomores and juniors are good. We just can’t afford to get anyone hurt.”
Taking the mound for the Warriors will be returning sophomore Megan Richmond.
“She’s going to do the majority of the pitching for us,” Adkins said. “She does a really good job and got a lot stronger over the summer.”
Also contributing on the mound will be juniors Elizabeth Goentzel and Chelsea Voth.
Marion will put a solid outfield on the field, Adkins said. Returning are junior Jay Dee Schafers at left and senior Annie Whitaker at center, with freshman Sam Davies filling in at right.
Returning in the infield will be junior Montana Percell at third base, junior Andrea Nordquist at second base and Voth as a fill-in at shortstop.
Junior Balee Shiplet likely will be behind the plate for Marion and freshman Shayla Kline will be stepping in at first base.
Percell, Richmond, Whitaker and Shiplet will be key players on offense, Adkins said.
“All of our girls, consistency-wise, do pretty well,” he said. “Some of them can bunt pretty well, so we’re going to try to get that into our offense as much as we can. We have just enough power to mix in with the other things that we have. It looks pretty good.
“We’re just going to have to utilize our strengths with where we’re at in the batting order. Some of them will bunt a lot more than others.”
The Warriors hope solid hitting and defense, plus talent on the mound, will help them succeed in the Heart of America league this season.
“I think we can compete pretty well with all of the schools in our league,” Adkins said. He said Moundridge and Canton-Galva will field decent teams.
“It’s just going to depend,” Adkins said. “We’re young. We’ll make some mistakes, but if they work as hard as they are, we’re going to be fine.”
Marion was scheduled to face its first test in a road matchup March 27 with Herington. The Warriors will host Moundridge in their home opener Friday.