By Matt Turer — firstname.lastname@example.org
Monett returns all but one starter (Haley Williams) from a team that won the Big 8 and its district championship in Class 3. Yes, Williams was an all-region pitcher and Monett’s best bat, but the Cubs still return six batters that hit over .300 last year and four that hit over .400.
This is a team that will compete for a Big 8 championship in a strong conference and has the potential for a deep postseason run.
“We’re looking forward to another great year,” head coach Ty Goetz said. “We had a great summer to prepare us for the fall. Offensively, we showed that we can be pretty good with our speed.”
Monett being pretty good with its speed was the case last year as well. And that started with Katie Kurima.
Kurima (.439 AVG./30 R/35-35 SB), an all-region senior shortstop, will set the tone for a lineup that hit .382 in 2016. Goetz said Kurima is one of the fastest players in the area, and her perfect steal percentage backs that up.
In addition to Kurima, second-team all-state junior third baseman Kelli McCallister (.458 AVG./8 XBH/11 SB), senior first baseman/pitcher Josie Allcock (.415 AVG./1.051 OPS/13 XBH), junior all-region outfielder Maddi Coones (.406 AVG.), junior all-conference infielder Camryn Wolf (.372 AVG./13 XBH/4 HR) and sophomore outfielder Ashley Kurima (.318 AVG./2 HR/7 SB) create the bulk of the deepest lineup in the region.
Monett also has experience back at catcher in Victoria Gutierrez (.256 AVG.). Goetz keyed on junior Katie Schmidt (IF), sophomore Keasha George (OF/P), sophomore Kassie McCallister (IF/P) and sophomore Amberlyn Schmidly (C) as others to keep an eye on.
“She stepped in and caught for us last season. She did a good job and we continue to look forward to her progression,” Goetz said.
The only question for Monett is pitching. Duties there look to be split between Allcock, Keasha George and Kassie McCallister.
“We have some different options at pitcher, so we’ll see what best fits with our defense,” Goetz said.