By Chris Parker
Morrisville softball posted a 13-7 overall record last year. The Lady Panthers had four players earn second-team all-region honors.
Three of those players in Nettie Wiggins, Hannah Brisley and Riley Simmons return this year.
Wiggins is a senior third baseman who is a three-year letterman. Last year, Wiggins hit .419 with a team-high 26 RBI to go with 26 runs scored.
“She is the heart and soul of the team,” Morrisville head coach Mike McHolland said. “(She) finds a way to get things done at the plate and on the field.”
Brisley returns to the circle at pitcher. She threw all 90 inning last year striking out 98 and posting a 4.58 ERA. She will share pitching duties with freshman Hailey Presley this year. When not pitching, Brisley will play second base.
Simmons will anchor the outfield in center as a junior. She hit .333 last year 15 runs scored and 10 RBI.
Sophomore shortstop Lauren Taylor will be another team leader this year. She hit .408 last year while posting team-highs for both runs scored (31) and stolen bases (15).
Becca Presley (junior 1B), Halle Burrow (sophomore 1B/2B/3B) and Taylor Blehm (freshman 1B/3B) round out the infield for Morrisville. The rest of the outfield will feature Olivia Blehm (junior), Kirsten McGinnis (sophomore), Paige Mawhiney (sophomore), Maggie Painter (freshman) and Kora Hadley (senior). Blehm earned the team’s Most Improved Player Award along with McGinnis.
“We have a good nucleus (with) eight starters returning and 11 letterman from last season team which know our team system/concepts of doing things on the field the right way,” McHolland said. “Our pitching and a solid batting order also will be a strength for our team.”
All of that returning talent has expectations high for Morrisville this year.
“With 11 lettermen and eight starters returning from last season along with a talented freshman class coming into the program, hopefully we can continue the tradition of Lady Panther softball success, improve on our team success and get better each day as a team,” McHolland said.
Morrisville opens the season hosting its home tournament on Aug. 29.