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by Mark Cheffey
The PHS softball team is looking to turn regular season success into some post-season success this year.
The Lady Panthers posted a 12-7 record last year and went 5-2 to finish in a tie for second in the conference, but bowed out of the season with a district semifinal loss to Highland.
“It’s always a goal to win a district title,” said Coach Alexis Meyers. “Last year, I think we were our own worst enemy. This year I’m hoping we can overcome the nervousness and just go play good softball.”
Meyers enters her third season at the helm, and her teams have had winning records so far, but have yet to breakout into the playoffs.
A core of returning players help bolster this year’s squad with some up-and-coming players hoping to fill the voids left by graduating seniors.
Leading the way are 2021 all-conference players, Abbey Redd and Bella McBride, who are expected to be big contributors again this year and looked to for leadership.
“Abbey will be looked at as a leader both on offense and defense,” Meyers said. “She will be playing a lot of third base and be our leadoff batter.
“When she gets on base, the rest of the lineup tends to have more confidence.
“Bella will be a leader in the grass this year. She will use her speed and ability to read the ball off the bat to cover a lot of ground in the centerfield.”
Also returning are Hailey Kroeger, at catcher, Alaina Loman, at shortstop, Lexie Peuster, in left field, Anna Ragar, in right field, Jenna McVeigh, at first base and designated hitter, and Kennedy Wilson as the team’s No. 1 pitcher and first base.
Bolstering the mound duties will be a newcomer, Tenlee Voss, a senior transfer from Illinois, who will also play in the infield.
“She has pitching experience, and is quickly gaining respect of the other girls,” Meyers said.
Also, in the pitching mix is a freshman, Arizona Mitchell.
“Arizona is a freshman who has a strong work ethic in the circle,” Meyers said.
Last year’s team included nine sophomores, and Meyers hopes they will have a strong impact on the team.
“I’ll be looking at the junior group this year to provide stability in our offense,” Meyers said. “A few of them have two years of varsity experience, and I’m hoping the nerves will be gone and seasoned players will thrive.”
Rounding out the squad are sophomores Noah Augspurg, Chloe Chamberlain, Madison Fessenden, Jaeda Parker, Zoey Schroeder and Grace Scifres, and freshmen Aubrey Hillman, Caydence Deming, Jerzey Ramey, Aira Hamilton, Sophie Zeiger, Alexis Trosper, Adyson Dorsey and Clara Keim.
Offensively, this year’s team could have a combination of speed and power.
“It will be fun to watch some small ball along with our power hitters,” Meyers said. “If our contact hitters can get on base, our power hitters will be able to drive in runs.
Defense has been a major focus in pre-season practice from day one so it does not lead to big innings and losses.
“If we can get our fundamentals spot on, defense should not be a problem,” Meyers said.
Macon is again expected to be the team to beat in the Clarence Cannon Conference after winning last year’s title with a 6-1 record, 17-9 overall.
“They have a strong returning pitcher who will make it difficult to come out on top of the CCC.”
Macon’s Brooke Weimer returns as a senior after earning CCC Player of the Year honors in 2021.
Palmyra’s non-conference schedule is tough, starting with the annual Troy-Buchanan Lead-off Tournament to start the season Aug. 26. The team is also slated to play in some clusters this year.
“One is in Mexico with Southern Boone,” Meyers said. “We also go to Canton to play Father Tolton. Troy is always a tough competitive team as well.”
But if the team can get through the tough grind, Meyers is hoping to have a team that can produce runs and have the ability to bounce back from mistakes.
“Like I said, we were our own worst enemy last year,” Meyers said. “If we can make strides in the mental part of the game we should have some post-season success.”
The Lady Panthers will compete in Class 2, District 5 this year along with Clark County, Highland, Louisiana, Mark Twain, Monroe City and South Shelby.
Meyers is again joined by assistant coach Macy Bross.
“Macy is a great assistant,” Meyers said. “We bounce ideas of each other constantly and always try to find new ways for the girls to understand softball concepts.”
2022 PHS Varsity/JV
8/20 Jamboree TBA
8/26-27 at Troy Tour. (V) TBA
8/30 Louisiana 5 p.m.
9/1 at Mark Twain 5 p.m.
9/6 at LaPlata 5 p.m.
9/8 at Monroe City 5 p.m.
9/10 Canton, Palmyra Father Tolton TBA
9/12 Moberly 5 p.m.
9/13 Clark Co. * 5 p.m.
9/15 Bowling Green 5 p.m.
9/19 Elsberry 5 p.m.
9/20 at South Shelby* 5 p.m.
9/22 at Macon* 5 p.m.
9/24 S. Callaway,
Montgomery Co. TBA
9/26 Highland* 5 p.m.
9/27 Brookfield* 5 p.m.
10/1 Wright City, Southern Boone, Palmyra TBA
10/3 Canton 5 p.m.
10/5 at Troy 5 p.m.
10/6 at Centralia* 5 p.m.
10/10 at Hannibal 5 p.m.
* Clarence Cannon Conference game
9/6 8-7 at Canton 5 p.m.
9/7 8-7 at Clark Co. 5 p.m.
9/12 8-7 Highland 5 p.m.
9/14 8-7 Holy Rosary 5 p.m.
9/15 8-7 at Hannibal 5 p.m.
9/20 8-7 IC 5 p.m.
9/21 8-7 Louisiana 5 p.m.
9/22 8-7 at S. Shelby 5 p.m.
9/26 8-7 Mark Twain 5 p.m.
9/28 7 at Highland 4:30 p.m.