By Chris Parker
Fair Play wants to climb back over .500 this year after posting a 9-14 record last season. Alicia Mercer enters her first season as the head coach of the program after serving as an assistant for three seasons.
“The girls played in the summer Polk County League summer ball. They did well and then we were able to see some areas we need to improve. I think that the team can hit the ball pretty well and was able to compete with the teams competitively,” Mercer said.
Fair Play has a good starting point with sophomore Chyler Welch returning. Welch was second-team all-conference and earned all-district honors last year as a freshman shortstop and back up pitcher. This year she will step into the circle full time after the graduation of first-team all-conference selection Ashton Neely.
Seniors Christina Bayer and Adrienne Brown are returning starters at second base and first base, respectively. Junior left fielder Lexie Simpson gives Fair Play another returning starter in the outfield.
Sophomore Brayden Thomas will step behind the plate at catcher this year.
Other returning players include: seniors Hannah Bass and Dana Carr; juniors Abby Grove and Hayleigh Shuler; sophomores Brayden Thomas, Chyler Welch and Breezy Wilson.
New players include senior Martha Khadyrke, junior Emily McDougal and freshmen Jaden Dollar, Brooke Wilkes and Mary Ward.
All together Fair Play has 17 players out with a nice mix of youth and experience.
“This group of girls likes each other and encourages each other and I feel like that will take you a long way,” Mercer said.
Fair Play opens the season on Aug. 24 in the Humansville Tournament.