Sarcoxie has many key players back from last year’s 17-win squad that fell to Mt. Vernon in the district semifinals.
A pair of senior pitchers in Peyton Kisling and Alyssa Rice lead that returning group. Kisling handled most of the pitching duties due to an injury to Rice last year. Kisling earned second-team all-conference honors for her work in the circle while Rice was a first-team all-conference utility player.
Overall, Kisling posted a 13-5 record with 138 strikeouts and a 4.46 ERA in 102 innings last year. She was a force at the plate as well with a .556 batting average, five home runs and 19 doubles. Kisling will handle a bulk of the pitching duties again this year.
Rice was 2-0 with a 4.60 ERA prior to her injury last year. She hit .480 with three doubles and two home runs in just nine games played.
When one is pitching the other will play first base.
The rest of the infield will have senior Giselle Lopez at shortstop, Kyann Ogle at second or third base and Elaina Chapman at catcher or a utility role. Lopez hit .361 with a .574 on-base percentage as a junior. Ogle, who was an honorable mention all-conference selection on the infield last year, hit .554 with a .646 on-base percentage. Chapman showed some pop at the plate with a .352 batting average including eight doubles and two home runs.
A pair of seniors in Olivia Goddard and Jayden Whittenburg will be the key outfielders. Goddard brings great speed to centerfield and a .652 on-base percentage at the plate. Whittenburg hit .362 with a .474 on-base percentage.
Senior Chelsea Evans and junior Shayna Watson along with sophomores Ashley Calvin, Jessica Hinkle and Elizabeth Chaney will try to work their way into the varsity rotation.
Four freshmen newcomers to watch include: Brooklyn Carr (IF/C), Reese Clifton (P/IF), Jessica Fieker (P/IF) and Cadence Chrisman (IF).
Sarcoxie’s overall strength of schedule has increased this year with a move into the new Southwest Conference featuring a mash-up of former SRVC and Mid-Lakes schools.
“We need to show up every game mentally prepared to play and win. If we play with confidence and let our talent take over we should be a good team again this year. We were 17-8 last year and strength of schedule has improved this year,” assistant coach Jack Altermatt said. “We also expect to compete for a district championship.”
Sarcoxie opens the season on Mar. 15 at Fair Grove.