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by Mark Cheffey
The PHS softball team is hoping to take the next step this year and make a playoff run.
“The goal is always a playoff run,” said second-year head coach Alexis Meyers, whose team went 13-11 and fell in the district title game last year.
“I would like to see this team improve from last year and get out of districts,” she said.
Meyers has two seniors returning, Jazlin Gottman, a pitcher and first baseman, and Jansen Juette, who returns to second base.
“Jazlin is a good contact hitter wbo doesn’t strike out much,” Meyers said. “She will be solid for us in the three or four spot in the line-up.”
Juette will also be counted on for offense, batting in the middle of the order.
“Jansen has power to hit the ball hard and far,” Meyers said.
Abbey Redd, one of two juniors, will be playing third and catching.
“With her being a lefty, she will be leading off or batting second for us,” Meyers said.
Kennedy Wilson will be switching with Gottman pitching and at first base.
“She typically goes deep in the count at the plate and hits the ball hard,” Meyers said.
Hailey Kroeger, part of a group of eight sophomores, will also be catching and playing third.
“She is a gap hitter and will be utilized after any of our players that get on base frequently,” Meyers said.
Alaina Loman, a sophomore, will be returning at shortstop and Lexie Peuster, also a sophomore, will be returning in left field.
“They are both contact hitters who can do what is asked of them at the plate,” Meyers said.
Bella McBride will be playing centerfield this season. She bats from the left side of the plate, and Meyers said she had a high on base percentage this summer.
Meanwhile, the right field and the designated hitter spots are still up for grabs with sophomores Candra King, Jenna McVeigh, and Anna Ragar are all in the running
Meyers said pitching will be a plus for the team with Gottman and Wilson getting the call.
“Our pitchers are strong,” Meyers said of the pair. “The defense is going to have to be ready for odd hits off the bat due to our pitchers’ speed and spin.”
Meyers said Gottman throws strikes and “makes the hitter work” while Wilson mixes speeds well and keeps the batters guessing.
Offensively, Meyers said there is the potential of having strong hitters up and down the line up.
“I am looking forward to seeing what these girls can do against live pitching this fall,” Meyers said.
When the team is out in the field, Meyers hopes to hear some talking.
“Communication on defense is going to make or break us,” Meyers said. “When everyone is communicating on the field, things go much smoother for everyone involved.
“If we do make mistakes, we have to be able to bounce back quickly and make the next play.”
Coach Meyers said the summer was a productive one for many of her players.
“We are fortunate enough to have several girls who play travel ball during the summer,” Meyers said. “We had days in the summer to get closer as a team and work on getting better, and I’m waiting for it show on the field.”
As for the opposition, Meyers said Macon is the early pick as the team to beat in the Clarence Cannon Conference.
“They have a solid junior class that is talented,” Meyers said. “I would love to see Palmyra in the top three this year. If we come out and compete each game, we have a great chance of being right there with top teams.”
Palmyra will also host big-school teams in Battle and Troy this year and will travel to Columbia Hickman.
“We played all of them last year, and they were good games, but we seem to tense up as soon as we hear it’s a bigger school than us,” Meyers said.
“We have enough talent to be competitive with all our opponents. We just have to get out of our own way.”
And if everything falls right, it would be a special year for the Lady Panthers.
“I’m very excited about this season,” Meyers said. “The girls have all the ability in the world. They need to figure out how to use all of it.”
Meyers is assisted again this year by fellow Lady Panther alum, Macy Bross.
Also on the squad this year are sophomore, Jaelyn Chandler, and freshmen, Chloe Chamberlain, Elly Sorenson, Jaeda Parker, Andiynn Reeves and Madi Fessenden.
In their final dress rehearsal for the season, the Lady Panthers will participate in the Marceline Jamboree this Saturday.
2021 PHS Varsity/JV
8/21 Marceline Jam 9 a.m.
8/28 at Troy Tour. (V) TBA
8/31 at Lou. (V/JV) 5 p.m.
9/2 M.T. (JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/7 LaPlata (JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/9 M. City*(JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/13 at Mob. (V/JV) 5 p.m.
9/14 Clark Co. *(JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/16 at Bowl. Gr. (V/JV)5 p.m.
9/21 S.Shelby* (JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/23 Macon* (JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/25 Battle (JV/V) Noon
9/27 at High.* (JV/V) 5 p.m.
9/28 at Brook.* (JV/V) 5 p.m.
10/2 at Cent. Invit. (V) TBA
10/4 at Canton (V/JV) 5 p.m.
10/6 Troy (JV/V) 5 p.m.
10/7 Cent.* (JV/V) 5 p.m.
10/9 Hickman (JV/V) 11 a.m.
10/11 Hannibal (JV/V) 5 p.m.
* Clarence Cannon Conference game