By Matt Turer — email@example.com
Webb City might be the area’s most dangerous Class 4 team. The Cardinals bring back their entire roster from 2016 after going 7-1 in the COC-Large and winning 16 games before losing to district champion McDonald County. Head coach Shauna Friend openly acknowledged that her team has the potential to make a deep postseason run beyond the district tournament, and, quite frankly, why not?
“We have high expectations for the 2017 season,” Friend said earlier this summer. “Having our entire varsity roster returning from last year along with good depth at every position, we’ll have a very competitive lineup. [And] with good team chemistry, we have the potential to compete for the COC-Large and a district championship, as well as make a deep run in the postseason.”
The biggest new addition to this roster last year was freshman first baseman Kaia Storm, who busted out with a .552 average, 19 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBIs. Storm was generally protected in the order by hitting in front of then junior and now senior infielder Marieka Turpen, who has consistently been one of the best bats in the area throughout her career and hit .430 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 2016.
Junior infielder/pitcher Quincie Capron hit .463 out of the leadoff spot last year and senior centerfielder Mariah Newby (an excellent fielder) hit .382 with an impressive .541 on-base percentage.
Webb City will again roll out a pitching staff that runs three-deep. Addie Darby is still the No. 1 after striking out 120 batters in 102 innings with a 3.29 ERA last year. Amy Morris (39 IP, 28 K, 3.38 ERA) and Capron (25 IP, 2.76 ERA) will also split time. All three have reportedly increased their command and velocity since last fall.
“Along with a powerful offense, our strong pitching staff will be an asset to our goals,” Friend said. “This summer was filled with hard work and dedication by the players in the weight room, on the field with team workouts and camps, and playing competitive travel-ball schedules.”
The depth the Cardinals bring back will be an asset as well, which is something else Friend acknowledged this summer.
“It’s hard to only mention six returners as top players as I feel we will have several players that will play critical roles on our team in order to have success this year,” she said.