Basehor-Linwood softball squad seeks return to state tournament
Basehor-Linwood came up short in the regional title game last season, losing to Bishop Ward, 5-1.
While the season didn’t end like the team envisioned, it was filled with highlights.
Basehor-Linwood played the longest game in Kansas history last season, a 23-inning classic against Lansing. The team lost, but proved it could battle.
The Bobcats also entered regional competition as the No. 1 seed and advanced to the title game, which had eluded them the previous season.
The team had five players named to the All-Kaw Valley League team.
Now, the Bobcats want to experience similar success this season and hope to return to the regional title game and to earn a trip to the state tournament in Salina.
The team has a couple positives on its side entering Tuesday’s opener against Blue Valley and Blue Valley North.
Good softball teams are typically strong up the middle with a quality catcher, pitcher, middle infielders and interior outfielders. This is where the majority of the team’s experience returns. Senior Tara Chumley returns at catcher, and has signed to play softball at Baker University.
Shelby Pierce was a dominating pitcher last season. Pierce, a junior, struck out more than 20 batters in the Lansing game. She earned All-KVL second team honors last season.
Behind her, senior Megan Rehm will play shortstop. She was an All-KVL selection last season. As the team’s leadoff hitter she posted a .444 batting average, scored 38 runs and had 36 hits to go with 18 runs batted in and two home runs last year. She also had five triples and 10 doubles for an on-base percentage of .773.
Senior Caylee Smith will play second base. Smith is fast and does a nice job of getting on base. She has solidified the team’s second base position with her defense and also signed to play softball at Kansas City Kansas Community College next season.
Sophomore Hannah Tush was an All-KVL second team selection in center field last year. Tush batted .306 with 22 hits and 19 runs scored. She drove in 11 runs and had a .430 on-base percentage.
In addition, the Bobcats’ other returners are senior Rachel Neal and sophomores Olivia Cowan and Brooke Redmond.
Early in the season, Mayberry says she is pleased with how her team has practiced despite limitations caused by the weather. When the team has practiced, players have focused on the basics of softball — pitching, catching, bunting, fielding and both offensive and defensive strategies.
“We want to take it one game at a time and get better physically, mentally and more and more confident by the regional tournament,” Mayberry said.
Mayberry said she was looking for her team to stay healthy and focused, pivotal to reaching those aforementioned postseason goals and returning to state. Early in the season, players have had positive attitudes and team chemistry has been good.
“They have respect for the game and buy into the program and our philosophy,” she said.