The Marion softball program will have new leadership this season under the direction of first-year head coach Judy Noller.
Having previously coached softball at Remington, Noller brings experience to the position. Molly Dillon will serve as assistant coach.
The Warriors finished second in Heart of America league play a year ago with a 13-3 record, capping their 14-7 season with a 9-7 loss to Hillsboro in a Class 2-1A regional semifinal game.
Four returning all-league recipients will anchor Marion’s 16-person roster this season.
Senior Corrina Crabb returns as a first-team, All-HOA honoree who will anchor the outfield in center and serve as leadoff hitter this season.
Sophomore Chisholm Waner returns as a first-team, All-HOA designated player. When she’s not pitching, Waner may contribute at first base.
Senior utility Tori Shults received second-team, All-HOA recognition last year. She will be expected to contribute at first base this year.
Sophomore infielder Laura Savage received honorable mention All-HOA honors a year ago. She will anchor the left side of the infield at third base this season.
Waner, Shults and Savage will likely serve as Marion’s three-, four- and five-hole hitters, although not necessarily in that order.
Additional impact players include senior outfielder/infielder Destiny Boudreaux, junior pitcher/infielder Grace Overton, sophomore catcher Macy Sigel and freshman shortstop Jayden May, who may bat second.
In the mix at second base are junior Chloe Burkholder, sophomore Megan Neufeld, Overton and Boudreaux, who may also contribute at shortstop. Meanwhile, sophomore Jaden Slifer may vie for time behind the plate.
Any number of athletes could join Crabb in the outfield, including junior Cameron White, Boudreaux, Burkholder, Neufeld, Slifer and May.
Noller said one of the Warriors’ biggest challenges will be overcoming the loss of four starters and two coaches from last year.
Marion will play without graduated seniors Kourtney Hansen, Lindsey Sigel, Alli Molleker and Bailey Baker this season.
“League games will be competitive,” Noller said. “Sixty-five percent of all-league selections return. Our non-league will also be competitive.”
Noller said the Warriors’ goals for the season are to improve every day, remain positive, and believe in and encourage each other.
Coming—Marion was scheduled to travel to Council Grove Tuesday and will open Heart of America league play by hosting Moundridge Friday.