By Derek Shore
Head Coach: Matt Schubert
2015-16 Record: 25-7 W-L – Beat Crest Ridge for the Class 1 Spring Softball State Championship
Top Players: Morgan Hull (P/INF), Hailea Schubert (C), Mary Spencer (2B), Alane Corday (SS), McKenna Hagerman (OF), and Kendra Foulk (DP/OF/INF)
In just their fourth season as a program, Mount Vernon softball accomplished a feat most programs can’t fathom, a state championship title.
While the Lady Mountaineers return their majority of their core, they lose four starters and prominent ones at that in a quartet of All-State recipients. Among the top players that graduated, include pitcher Maddi Brown (now playing at Crowder College), infielder Kaitlyn Foulk, and outfielders Whitney Wiehe and Callie Christiansen.
Head coach Matt Schubert sees no reason this past season success won’t waver.
“Coming off a state championship, we have a solid core of players returning,” Schubert said. “I expect us to be very competitive from the get go. We will have to replace four very, very good players in the four seniors we lost, and it may have to be done by a group of players who will be stepping into extensive varsity roles for the first time.”
Among the signature returnees, includes two-time first-team All-State infielder Morgan Hull, who posted a .441 average with 15 extra-base hits, 46 RBI, and eight thefts as a junior last year. Hull will be Mount Vernon’s primary pitcher as well, going 6-0 with 1.88 ERA and 21:2 strikeout to walk ratio over 26 innings.
Mt Vernon will also regain two-time second-team All-State catcher Hailea Schubert back after hitting .371 with 16 RBI this past spring. Schubert will also see time in the circle this year too.
To round out the returning seniors, Mary Spencer, a very good defender at second, brings back a .271 average with 25 RBI.
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Three juniors return in the form of Alane Corday, McKenna Hagerman, and Kendra Foulk. Corday, who Schubert called an “All-State caliber player,” was the team leader in batting average last year, putting up a .491 batting clip with seven doubles, three triples, two homers, and 24 RBI as an underclassman. Hagerman is fast and covers a lot of ground in the outfield with Foulk being a clutch hitter, who can play a variety of positions.
Coach Schubert also listed six newcomers, including seniors Micaela Parker and Destiny Krempges along with sophomores Madison Schubert, Lauren Herbert, Michaela McChesney, and Sydney Anderson.
Parker will find her way into the lineup with her ability to hit. Krempges is an excellent baserunner, who can run and cover ground in the outfield with some pop at the plate. Schubert has a quick bat with a good arm from the outfield. Herbert, who can play both the outfield and infield, is a quick defender with a quick bat. McChesney has a live arm and can swing the bat with some power. Anderson, a transfer from Hurley, has varsity experience.
“We will have to be a good defensive team once again as Morgan is a pitch to contact type pitcher without big strikeout totals,” Schubert said. “I think we will continue to hit the ball well. Our coaching philosophy is to put the best kid in the best spot for them to be successful. Sometimes we will go with the hot hand and others we will use a possible skill set to match up.”
The Lady Mountaineers expect key matchups will be against Strafford and Purdy as well as new district foes Sarcoxie and Pierce City, who both have improved with an additional year of experience for young teams from last year.
Mount Vernon opens the season on Sat., Mar. 18 in the always tough Shelby Estep Memorial Scholarship Tournament in Marionville.