If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
by Mark Cheffey
The 2023 Lady Panther softball team will be under the leadership of a new head coach who has a strong passion for the sport she loves and has exclled at to this point.
Jenny Jansen, who was a part on two state champion high school teams and played five years of college ball, will be leading a team as head coach for the first time.
“It was just a big part of my life,” said Jansen, who started playing softball from a young age and eventually played traveling ball that took her to as far as Colorado and California.
“I didn’t do much else but play a lot of softball,” she said. “It was a passion for me.”
Jansen was a shortstop on a Warrenton (Mo.) High School team that won back-to-back Class 3 titles in 2015 and 2016.
She then went on to play for five seasons at the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where she earned a bachelor of science in elementary education in 2020 and a master’s in education-kinesiology in 2022.
She then taught fifth grade at Lincoln Douglas Elementary School in Quincy, Ill. before seeking and landing the junior high physical education position at Palmyra.
“And, when I got here, they asked me if I wanted to be a softball coach, and I said, ‘Sure, I’d love to be a head coach.’” said Jansen, who has had asperations for coaching the sport.
“I really didn’t think it could come this early in my career, but I’m happy it did, and I think I’m getting my footing under me.”
Although she grew up in Warrenton, Jansen said she has family connections in Quincy and was familiar with Palmyra softball through the Troy Tournament and having played against Palmyra players during the summer.
Now in Palmyra, Jansen was able to make quick connection with her players, starting in June the weight room, four days a week and then through summer league softball.
“I feel comfortable with them, and have already built some relationships,” she said. “I think they know my expectations going forward. The summer has been a really good building block for the season.”
Despite the loss of three key seniors to graduation, the Lady Panthers return a core of returning starters that include seniors Lexie Peuster and Alaina Loman, who made all-conference and all-dstrict teams last season, along with Bella McBride and Hailey Kroeger.
“I’ve got a really great senior class,” Jensen said. “They’re great leaders, and they want to win more than anything.”
There are also four juniors in Norah Augspurg, Chloe Chamberlain, Madison Fessenden and Grace Scifres, who will fill positions.
“I think I have a solid outfield and strong leadership behind the plate in Hailey (Kroeger),” Jansen said.
Pitching could be an issue to start the season having lost the two main hurlers from last year to graduation, as wells as an up-and-coming one, sophomore, Arizona Mitchell, to injury.
Jansen is expecting freshmen Marney Plunkett and Riley Sutter to see varsity time on the mound.
“They’re taking lessons, and they’re doing the work,” Jansen said.
Filling out the varsity and junior varsity teams are sophomores Caydence Deming, Caydence, Adyson Dorsey, Aubrey Hillman, Sophie Hicks, Jerzey Ramey, Alexis Trosper, Sophia Zeiger and Mitchell, and freshmen Amaya Hamlin, Jenna Webb, Josie LaSala, Anna Salo, Amanda Geist, Sierra Hudson, and Charli Martin.
Jansen is pleased with her assistant coaches, Macy Bross and Mark Loman, who have strong ties to Palmyra who know what it takes to win.
“Macy is just so passionate, and she’s been a great help to me to get my footing and getting this program back and restarted,” Jansen said. “And Mark has been in Palmyra forever, has coached and is a great help.
“I’m just happy to have them.”
Jansen said her coaching centers on building relationships with the players and developing strong fundamentals.
“I focus on the details,” Jansen said. “The small things are what lead to big things.
“That’s where we’re starting at, and we’re going to progress through the season into harder things.”
Jansen also said she will focus on being a positive influence with the players.
“I’m not a screamer. I’m not a yeller,” she said. “I’m into relationships, and I hold them to high expectations.
“They know what I expect from them, and they know they have consequences if they don’t.”
And winning is one of her big expectations.
“I told the girls I’ve never been on a losing team, and that’s going to be my expectation again,” Jansen said. “I told them I want to have a winning season and they are on board with, and they know what it takes. We have to do fundamentals and pay attention to the smallest details to be able to win and have a winning season.
“And, hopefully, we can go further than that.”
The Lady Panthers will scrimmage at the Mexico Jamboree this Saturday before opening the season at the Troy Tournament, Aug. 25-26.
Their first home game is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 31 against Mark Twain.
2023 PHS Varsity/JV
8/19 Jamb. at Mex. 9 a.m.
8/25-26 at Troy Tour. (V) TBA
8/29 at Louisiana 5 p.m.
8/31 Mark Twain 5 p.m.
9/5 LaPlata 5 p.m.
9/7 Monroe City 5 p.m.
9/9 Palmyra Cluster TBA
9/11 at Moberly 5 p.m.
9/12 at Clark Co. 5 p.m.
9/14 at Bowling Gr. 5 p.m.
9/18 at Elsberry 5 p.m.
9/19 South Shelby 5 p.m.
9/21 at Macon 5 p.m.
9/23 at Mont. Co. Cluster TBA
9/25 at Highland 5 p.m.
9/26 at Brookfield 5 p.m.
9/30 at S. Boone Cluster TBA
10/2 at Canton 5 p.m.
10/4 Troy 5 p.m.
10/5 Centralia 5 p.m.
10/9 Hannibal 5 p.m.