By Chris Parker
Seymour softball improved from one win to nine wins last season. Now Glen Dawson takes over as head coach hoping to keep that positive momentum in his first season at Seymour.
He has experience as an assistant softball coach, but this will be his first time as a head coach of a softball program.
“I was the assistant softball coach two years ago when Elisha Hastings was the head coach, but prior to that all my experience comes from baseball and football,” Dawson said. “Willard‘s baseball coach Scott McGee has been gracious enough to allow me to coach some of his younger teams up through middle school when my oldest son Brady played baseball in Willard. I also spent a season in the Nats organization assisting an amazing coach, Chris Dralle. I’ve really had some great mentors through the years, although they have been in baseball.”
He will have to work to keep Seymour softball on the right track after they graduated a strong senior group from last year’s team.
“That was a very senior heavy team last year, and Coach Wil Austin did such an amazing job with that group. Not going to be able to quite build off of that momentum as both of the starting pitchers graduated (Amy Herrion and Regan Matloc) and it looks like this season we are going to go heavily with two freshman pitchers,” Dawson said. “One thing that I have learned in my short time with softball is that this sport is so dominated by pitching that if our freshman can adapt quickly to varsity we will be good, but if we go through growing pains then we will struggle.”
The Lady Tigers will have a steady presence behind the plate at catcher in returning all-district selection Crystal Misemer.
“I cannot say enough about Crystal Misemer, she is the heart and soul of Seymour softball,” Dawson said. “She was all-district last year as a junior and didn’t start catching until her sophomore year. I would put her right up there with any catcher in the area as far as skill, athleticism and leadership. She works so hard and leads by example.”
Freshmen Hannah Clark and Alleigh Warren will be right into the mix as varsity pitchers. Junior Shay Moore will see time in relief as well. The cancellation of the middle school softball season will require Dawson’s two freshmen to adjust to the speed and skill of the varsity game quickly.
“With the cancellation of our middle school season due to Covid, our two freshmen go from throwing against 13-year-olds to throwing to get 17 and 18-year-olds,” Dawson said. “It’s a tough task to ask but what they have shown me so far is that they’re going to put forth the effort and not going to back down from the challenges.”
Seymour has a record 24 players out for softball this year with 18 of those players being freshmen.
“That’s given me is the luxury of having a lot of different looks on my infield,” Dawson said. “My anchor will be at first base with returning varsity senior Macey Hubbard. Macey is so incredibly talented at the plate. She will also bat third in my lineup. My shortstop will be sophomore Lillie Rasmussen, who was in several conversations for all-conference last year as a freshman. She’s taking over the shortstop position out right this year where she shared it a little bit between shortstop and third-base and I think that probably cost her the all-conference. Skill wise and athleticism she is such a remarkable athlete. Second base is still yet to be determined. It will be a competition between a few of my freshman players. Freshmen Kate Smith, Alleigh Warren and Elisa Valbuena could all see some time there. Third base will be freshman Aubrie Fann. Aubrie really impressed us this summer and she doesn’t seem like she’s a freshman at that position she looks and acts like a senior. Over the summer freshman Allie Alaxander worked herself into a position at varsity somewhere and third may be somewhere she fills in or could end up in the outfield.”
Four-year varsity starter Karli Henry returns to centerfield. She will supply power at the plate.
“Karli is a great leader for my outfield she’s very softball smart and she has a great read on fly balls,” Dawson said.
Past Henry, there will be a heated competition for the corner outfield spots.
“It could be the first round of districts before my other two outfield positions are sewn up,” Dawson said. “We would like to get freshmen Allie Alaxander, Destinee Rivera, Elisa Valbuena and Harley Watkins all some time out in the outfield. Junior Shay Moore will rotate between left field and right field where she’ll get a chance to display her terrific athleticism and cover a lot of ground out in the outfield.”
Seymour should have a strong offensive lineup to lean on.
“The strength of my team will be our top hitters,” Dawson said. “Coming into the summer I knew that my returning seniors Crystal, Macey and Karli, along with sophomore Lillie Rasmussen and junior Shay Moore would all be terrific at the plate. What we were surprised by is the bats that our freshmen showed at times, especially Aubrie Fann. If my freshmen swing the bats like they are veteran varsity players then we will offer very tough outs all the way through our lineup.”
Dawson will look for his young squad to mature quickly.
“Our team needs to mature very quickly. Although I feel blessed by having this many freshmen it’s not ideal to have to throw so many of them into the varsity fire so early. It really depends on how big our learning curve is as to how successful we will be,” Dawson said.
Seymour opens the season on Aug. 29 at the Halfway tournament.
“We expect to win, basically growing up in the Willard baseball community you grow accustomed to competing and winning. That doesn’t go away from you just because you go to another program,” Dawson said. “I owe it to the senior girls to help them go out as winners and we’re going to try everything we can to make that happen.”