2019 Spring Preview: Billings Softball

By Tyler Thompson (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

The Billings Lady Wildcats commenced the 2018 season authoring three wins in as many games.

Then came a five-game losing skid en route to an 8-10 record.

This spring, head coach Randy Towe eyes more consistency throughout the campaign.

And losing only one senior starter in first baseman Hayley Moore produces a solid foundation on which to build.

Billings returns six starting seniors — and seven in all — which Towe hopes will play into the girls’ hands in ’19.

“Lots of experience coming back,” said Towe. “There’s nothing like a lot of experience. And for [the] girls, this will be their fourth year of varsity play. When you have that type of experience, that can kind of help out [with] the coaching part on those younger kids, [who] will learn a lot from the older kids.”

With the loss of Moore, first base is primarily the defensive hole to fill for Towe.

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Returning are center fielder Jennifer Culver (led team with .500 average), third baseman Grace Seager (.271; led the team with 18 runs scored), sophomore pitcher Lizzie Edwards (8-10 record, while compiling a 92-to-57 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 99.2 innings pitched, and a 6.7 ERA), and senior catcher Elizabeth Gearing (.420), to name a few.

Culver also led the way in RBI (18) and Edwards wasn’t too far behind with her 14.

This season, the Lady ‘Cats open the campaign at Miller High School: a familiar foe the Billings girls know quite well.

Billings defeated the Lady Cardinals 10-5 last spring.

Talent within the confines of the Southwest Central League continually strive for more — opposition such as Clever, Spokane, Southwest, and last year’s Class 1 District 10 champion — the Purdy Lady Eagles.

The Wildcats advanced to the Class 1 District 10 quarterfinals last season, prior to falling 10-0 to Purdy.

Finding that consistent attack — both offensively and defensively — is step one for Towe’s veteran team.

And players such as Culver, Gearing, Edwards, and Kiera Groves look to give the team a leg up in ’19.

“I think, this year, the whole thing I am after is to be able to compete with everybody we play,” said Towe. “Last year, we had a number of teams that had a really good team, and I want to be able to compete with those kind of teams. And, I think with that group of seniors, we ought to be able to do that — to hit some of the good pitching that we face.”

While the veteran leadership is a vital intangible this season, the ripple effect will find its way to the younger players: setting the table for seasons to come.

Billings hosts Bradleyville March 18 for its home opener.