Bobcats open season at Bonner Springs
Rarely does something that happens in January have an effect on a high school softball season.
But when Basehor-Linwood senior pitcher Courtney Reed went down with an injured left knee during a basketball game in late January, BLHS softball coach Susan Mayberry knew she was going to have to find another way to earn some wins this season.
Luckily for Mayberry and the Bobcats, the 2002 softball team has enough experience and talent.
"Losing Courtney was a major blow to our program," Mayberry said. "Pitchers like her come along once in a coach's lifetime. With her, we think one way, but without her, we have to think an entirely different way. We're facing the possibility of having a new player at every position, but I think the girls are looking forward to the challenge."
Whether the returnees will be enough to overcome Reed's absence remains to be seen, but most of the girls are positive and anxious about the upcoming season.
Reed's presence on the mound will be missed, but senior Emily Hoffman and sophomore Abby Ross will take the ball in her place. Both have pitching experience and both have worked hard in the offseason for the 2002 campaign. Reed said she's glad they dedicated themselves because the team's going to need them.
"None of the pitchers we have this year were expecting to pitch," said Reed, who has stayed with the team as an assistant coach. "But they're needed now and I have no doubt they'll be able to get the job done. They've worked so hard."
In order to reach their goals, Mayberry said the Bobcats are going to have to work hard every out of every inning of every game.
"This year will be a big test of how tough we can be and what kind of team we want to be," Mayberry said. "We're in a position where everybody has to give it all they have every time they step onto the field."
The field positions and batting order have not been finalized, but Mayberry said she had some idea of what her opening day lineup would be. The key contributors to that lineup will be seniors Kelleigh Gorup and Kara Lackner and junior Cristin Burnett. A host of other juniors and sophomores will also be counted on heavily this season, but Mayberry said those three players, along with Ross and Hoffman, have impressed her the most so far.
The Bobcats have said that even though Reed is not there, their goals have not changed. Each player still wants to make the trek to the state tournament, and if they play to the best of their ability, Mayberry said they still might.
"State's obviously still the