By Pat Dailey (For the OzarksSportsZone.com)
Lori Videmschek has had a successful run as the head coach of Purdy softball. When the Cassville job opened up allowing her to potential to coach two programs, she jumped at the chance.
“People think I’m crazy. But I’ve grown up on softball and have loved it all my life. Now, I get to coach it pretty much nine months out of the year.”
With Cassville playing in the fall and Purdy in the spring, Videmschek will obviously get her share of softball.
Cassville and Purdy competed in a summer league in Monett, with Videmschek coaching both teams or having an assistant take over if the teams were playing at the same time. The teams did not play each other.
“This summer was crazy,” Videmschek said. “There was so much going on. But now Purdy is done for the year. They’re starting volleyball. I’ve inherited a team at Cassville that is fairly young and is a good group to work with.”
Shortstop Lauren Turner will return this season after missing virtually all of last year due to a tragedy in her family. Turner’s sophomore season two years ago saw her finish with a .479 batting mark, four home runs and 23 RBIS. One of her homers was a game-winning shot opposite former Republic all-stater Rachel Rook.
Cassville also has letterwinners back in third baseman Madry McCracken and right fielder Schauna Dilbeck, second baseman Adrien Lee and center fielder Hallie Walker.
“Madry is going to be a big RBI person for us and she runs the bases well,” Videmschek said. “I like her at third base. She has a good arm.”
Dilbeck is being converted into a catcher. This is her first action behind the plate.
Cassville will start freshman Isabelle Edwards at pitcher.
“She did a good job over the summer,” Videmschek said. “She’s not overpowering. She has an awesome changeup that she will have to use more to keep hitters off balance. She’ll look for groundball outs.
“Eliminating mistakes will be a big key for us. We cannot give teams five or six outs an inning. Our defense showed well during a team camp this summer. I think we will have a solid infield.”
Videmschek, a former Crowder coach who is 85-11 at Purdy the past four seasons, is confident that by season’s end the Lady Wildcats will be formidable.
“People think we lost an All-Big Eight pitcher and think we don’t have much,” she said. “We’ve got to work on a few things. But like I told the kids, it’s not how we start, it’s how we finish. We’re going to continue to get better. I think we can surprise people.”