By Matt Turer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Team: Camdenton Lady Lakers
Coach: Tyler Dinsdale
2019 Results: 6-20 (Lost 12-2 to Rolla in Class 4 District 9 semifinals)
Opening Day 2020: Union Tournament (Aug. 28-29)
Camdenton Lady Lakers softball’s six wins last season were nothing short of an outlier for a program coming off three-straight district championships and a combined 85-26 record from 2015 to 2018.
But there were plenty of positives for a group looking to take a step in the right direction in 2020.
“It’s hard to have a fun year and win six games, but last year was a really fun year,” Camdenton head coach Tyler Dinsdale said. “They were able to still have fun and be productive. I’m looking forward to seeing the work they’ve done [this summer] and how that will pay off [in 2020].”
Part of the challenge for Camdenton heading into last season came from having to replace six starters from the most successful senior class in the program’s history. This year, there’s not quite so much turnover.
Second Team All-Region outfielder and four-year starter Emma Rakes is back for her senior season. Rakes hit .474 with a .524 on-base percentage and 1.156 OPS last season, adding eight extra-base hits, 12 RBIs, 24 runs and 27 stolen bases.
“Emma is one of the better outfielders we’ve had come out of Camdenton,” Dinsdale said. “And we’ve had some good ones.”
Also returning are All-District selections in junior catcher Addy Enos (.265 AVG., 7 2B, 8 HBP), shortstop Sadie Stockman (.333 AVG., 7 2B, 11 RBI, 11 R) and utility Brandi Sloan (.327 AVG., 5 2B).
The eight times Enos—a team captain—was hit by a pitch in 2019 is among the 10 highest totals in that category in MSHSAA single-season history.
“She’s one of the harder-working girls on the team,” Dinsdale said of Enos. “She’s been playing lots of travel ball this summer. I’m excited to see what she’s done.”
Senior first baseman Katie Pitts and infielder Skylar Seaderwall are also back. As is Kylee Moore, who did not play her junior season but was a varsity starter in 2018 as a sophomore.
“A lot of the seniors have taken it upon themselves to show up to more offseason events and be more uplifting,” Dinsdale said. “They’re combining having a lot of fun and trying to hold everybody accountable.’
“We’ve tried to hit home the message of what’s your legacy going to be for Camdenton softball,” Dinsdale said. “We might not win 20 games like we’ve done, but how will the younger girls remember you and how will you leave the program when you graduate.”
Also returning are juniors Brandi Sloan (P/OF) and Gracie Coffelt (P) and sophomores Kylie Doyle (OF) and Ryah Moore (P).
“We’re returning quite a few varsity letter winners and also have some freshmen coming up,” Dinsdale said. “I expect us to be a lot better and more competitive this year.”
In a strong Ozark Conference that includes teams projecting to be among the area’s best in Kickapoo, Rolla and Glendale, Dinsdale’s expectations are tempered. But he still expects a climb up the ladder.
“Obviously I’d like to win them all, but I’m hoping for a .500 record in conference,” Dinsdale said. “That would be a good step following last year.”
Upperclassmen newcomers include infielders Kamryn Burton (senior) and Jocelyn Wolf (junior).
Dinsdale is looking to a handful of freshmen to contribute in outfielders Jamiee Hendrix and Zoey Lockhert and infielder Addy Clay.
As with the majority of teams in the area and across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional wrinkle to the 2020 season for the Lady Lakers. But it hasn’t all been negative.
“We do symptom checks in the mornings, but we’ve actually done more this summer [as a team] than in the past because of some of the stuff MSHSAA has taken off,” Dinsdale said. “Everybody is just happy to get outside.”
Camdenton is scheduled to host its jamboree with usual opponents Iberia, Sedalia Smith-Cotton and Marshfield.