Expectations are high for the Wheaton softball team with four all-conference players returning from last season’s 11-win squad.
Rachel Lacey and Hallie Mitchell both earned first-team all-conference honors last season while Tori Goosetree and Sarah Burton were second-team selections. All four players are seniors this season.
Mitchell will be the top pitcher on the team after starting every game last season. She was 11-4 with 94 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched. At the plate, she hit .457 with 20 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Lacey will be in the middle of the infield at short stop. She was the team’s top hitter with a .551 batting average and a .645 on-base percentage. She hit for power with three home runs, eight doubles and four triples. That led to 20 RBI and a team-high 35 runs scored.
Goosetree will hold down first base. She posted a .500 batting average with 19 RBI and 21 runs scored last year. Burton will be at third base. At the plate, Burton hit .455 with a .554 on-base percentage that included one home run, 20 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Seniors Aliya Prewitt (catcher) and Kaylee Hutsell (third base) give second-year head coach Robert Creekmore a wealth of experience to lean on.
“Experience will be one of our biggest strengths in 2019. Our starting lineup will consist of seven seniors who have started the majority of their careers,” Creekmore said. “All nine starters return from an 11-4-1 season last year. We look to improve that record this year and compete for a conference and district championship.”
To accomplish those goals, Wheaton will have to improve defensively.
“Our team, like most teams, will focus on improving defensively this season. When you play great defense you put yourself in a position to win every day,” Creekmore said.
The seven seniors at Wheaton are looking to leave their mark on the program.
“Historically softball is one of the most successful programs here at Wheaton and they want to put their stamp on the program this season,” Creekmore said. “Some of the goals we have set for this year include improving our record from last season. This group is hungry for an Ozark 7 Conference title as well.”
Wheaton opens the season on Mar. 15 at Exeter.