Lady Bobcats hoping young roster can get the job done on the softball diamond
The Basehor-Linwood High School softball team is anxious for its season to begin.
Despite being a young team, in what is known for being a tough conference, the Lady Bobcats have displayed the type of intensity that is necessary to compete in the Kaw Valley League.
With only one senior on the squad this year, head coach Susan Mayberry is putting a lot of faith in her underclassmen. But so far, from what she's seen in practice, there is no reason for her to believe that they won't be a tough team to beat.
"We will have to do all the little things right," Mayberry said. "But with the core of players that we have this year, we can make a strong run."
Coming off one of their toughest seasons in Mayberry's tenure, the Lady Bobcats are looking for some versatility on this year's team. Because of their youth and inexperience, a lot of players will be expected to fill different roles this season, in an effort to see which nine mesh the best on the field all at once.
"For us to be successful they must be willing to accept any role that we give them," Mayberry said. "The players must buy into what we are trying to accomplish, and they have to trust their teammates and coaching staff."
An area where there will be no doubt about which player will be dominant is pitching. Junior Kristal Holland returns as the Lady Bobcats' ace and has been working out five to six days a week since last season ended. She has dedicated herself to perfection by going to camps, clinics and taking private lessons.
"Kristal's dedication in the offseason is going to pay huge dividends for her and our team," Mayberry said. "She is perhaps the strongest leader we've had in our program since 2000."
Holland's leadership couldn't be more helpful, considering 10 out of the 13 players on the team are freshman and sophomores.
With an ace that has proven herself, Mayberry turns her confidence toward her defense. She has instilled the attitude of working hard and "owning" whatever position a play is in. This has bred competition, as the players continuously try and push each other day in and day out.
"We have potentially the best defense we have had in five years," Mayberry said. "If we play unselfishly and play every game like it's their last, our chances for success are pretty good."
Behind the plate this season will be freshman Codi Schierbaum. Schierbaum took over when sophomore Amanda Leive went out with an injured knee. Leive will be out for the entire season.
The infield will consist of freshmen Maggie Schroeder at third base, and Chelsey Patton will split time between short stop and second base. Sophomore Stephanie Barger will also play short, and junior Morgan Hale will play up the middle, as well. The first base position is one that continues to be up in the air.
The Lady Bobcats have their most depth in the outfield. With their lone senior Brandi Sirridge leading the way, freshmen Jennifer Sirridge and Shannon Carlin are eager to learn along side her. Schierbaum and sophomore Erin Shore make up the rest of the outfield group, a group that is constantly pushing each other.
At 9-12 last year, Mayberry's second worst season at BLHS, the Lady Bobcats are definitely looking to improve. If her players buy into her "team" effort and above all stay healthy, behind ace Holland the Lady Bobcats could be very good this season.
The Lady Bobcats' next game of the season will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 just down the road at Tonganoxie.