By Chris Parker
Halfway softball was the last area Class 1 team standing in the fall of 2017. The Lady Cardinals won a district championship and made it to the state quarterfinals before falling to Chaffee to end the season with a 21-7 overall record.
The team learned a lot about itself that postseason run.
“Three of our final four wins we were down to our final at bat with the game on the line and found ways to keep competing and win games. That taught us a lot about ourselves,” coach Eric Ingram said. “Being one step away from the Final Four is very motivating to the girls coming back and has helped fuel the desire to work every day and get better.”
Halfway will be fairly young this season with just one senior expected to start in Kamryn Voris. She earned all-region honors in the outfield and stole 21 total bases last year. She has worked to improve her hitting from last season.
“She has worked hard and had a good spring and summer to be better prepared at the plate to have the output she wants,” Ingram said.
Fellow senior Madison Agee will also compete for time in the outfield rotation.
Sophomores Hannah Wolford and Madison Higginbotham along with freshman Elavia Sharp are three more players that have impressed in the offseason.
Wolford was the main courtesy runner for the Lady Cardinals last year.
“This summer her (Wolford’s) bat came alive and she gained some confidence in her game all around. We look for a good campaign from her,” Ingram said.
Higginbotham played right field and had some key hits for Halfway down the stretch. She will move to the infield and play second base this year.
Sharp will step in as the main pitcher as a freshman.
“She has worked very hard both in the bullpen and in games over the summer. She threw very well in our summer league and gained a lot of experience and confidence in the process,” Ingram said.
Kendall Morris will see time pitching in relief.
Maddie Payne moves from second base to catcher in her sophomore season.
“She has good game experience but not a ton of varsity catching experience,” Ingram said. “She has been catching Elavia all summer and gained some valuable experience.”
Halfway won’t hit for much power as the Cardinals graduated their only two home runs from last year, so they will use their speed to help create offense. They stole 91 bases last year.
“We should have good team speed this season and be able to put some pressure on the opposing defense,” Ingram said. “As young as we are even most of our sophomores played a role in our run last fall so they have some good experience to help propel them into their new roles this year.”
The Lady Cardinals will look to gel early and be ready for another postseason run.
“We want to compete every day in practice and games and get better every day. We may have some growing pains early but we think we can be ready by October to be at a level to compete for another district championship,” Ingram said.