By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
While Rogersville softball finished yet another season with at least 18 wins — the program’s sixth straight — the Lady Wildcats fell short of a district title with an 8-4 loss to Hillcrest in the semifinal round.
“We finished 18-10 overall and 8-2 in the new Big 8 conference, which tied us for second with Reeds Spring and Seneca,” McHenry said. “We feel we had a competitive year but were disappointed in our district finish.
Before settling in for another postseason run opportunity, Rogersville must first replace some key components lost to graduation.
Six seniors depart the program, including pitcher Julia Marshall (12-4, 2.05 ERA, .329 BA, 22 RBI), infielder Taylor Williams (.426 BA, 23 RBI, 31 Runs), outfielder Lindsay Schatzer (.337 BA, 2 HR), outfielder Hannah Shirley (.265 BA), Lilly Valdez and Taylor Marshall.
Williams will continue her softball career this fall at State Fair Community College.
While replacing a host of departed seniors will be challenging, the cupboard is far from barren.
Rogersville will be led by a trio of seniors in pitcher Paige Leithead (6-5, .315 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI), shortstop Angie Coambes (.356 BA, .420 OBP, 25 runs) and third-baseman/catcher Shelby Ince (.413 BA, 5 HR).
Senior first-baseman Lanie Rostic also returns for the Lady Wildcats, along with a trio of sophomores in catcher Jenna Lane (.342 BA), outfielder Meghan Hager (.286 BA, 9 SB) and outfielder Ali Icenhower (.417 BA).
Newcomers to the varsity roster include junior Jessi Jenkins, sophomore Jenna McKenzie and freshman Halee Miles.
While Rogersville’s roster will be both deep and talented this season, it will also skew young. For the Lady Wildcats to be successful late in the season, adjustments to the varsity game will need to happen early on.
“We have girls that can play multiple positions and, hopefully, we can be solid as the season progresses,” McHenry said. “Being young — 18 of our top 23 are freshmen and sophomores — we will have to grow quickly playing against veteran players.”
In the circle, Rogersville will begin the season with a committee approach with several capable arms available.
“If we stay healthy, we have the deepest pitching staff we have had in my tenure at Logan-Rogersville,” McHenry said. “Each pitcher is a little different, and our ace will be determined as the season goes along.”
Aside from pitching, consistent play in all areas of the game will be a key to the Lady Wildcats’ success, according to McHenry.
“I’ve always believed the teams that can play consistent everyday have the best chance to be successful throughout the season,” McHenry said. “Expectations are to be very competitive in the Big 8 and a major threat come district time.”
Rogersville opens its season Aug. 30 in the Buffalo Invitational.