2022 Spring Preview: Ava Softball

By Chris Parker

Ava softball was one of the area’s most consistent softball programs over the past half-decade; winning at least 15 games each season since 2017. Now the Bears will try to bring that consistency to the spring.

Ava enters its first spring season with a trio of seniors in Julia Henry (pitcher), Macee Cutbirth (second base) and Teagan Snow (first base) leading the team.

Cutbirth earned second-team all-state honors in the fall of 2020 in addition to all-district and all-region honors. She led the team in hitting with a .516 batting average while tying for the team-high in RBI with 27. Henry was named all-region and all-district.

Henry and basketball standout Sara Mendel (junior) will be the team’s pitchers. Henry threw 121 innings with 101 strikeouts and a 1.68 ERA in her junior season. She was strong at the plate too with a .430 batting average tying for the team-high in RBI with 27.

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McKinley Goss will handle the catching duties in her junior season.

The infield lineup will feature Snow at first, Cutbirth at second, junior Olivia Gastineau at shortstop and junior Keeley Akers at third base. Both Gastineau and Akers were all-district honorees in the fall of 2020. Snow hit .391 with a .491 on-base percentage to go with 18 RBI and 13 runs scored. Gastineau was an on-base machine in the fall of 2020 with a .524 on-base percentage thanks in large part to her team-high 14 walks. She turned that on-base ability into 30 runs scored with 16 RBI. Akers hit .439 with a .526 on-base percentage.

Mendel will play left field when not pitching. Lexie Gastineau will play centerfield with Kaelyn Stillings in right field. Lilli Honeycutt will also see outfield time in her sophomore season. Mendel hit .348 with 11 RBI and 11 runs scored as a sophomore. Gastineau found herself on base 51.2% of the time which led to her scoring a team-high 32 runs in the fall of 2020. Stillings scored 15 runs and had 12 total hits in her last fall season.

Paris Henry is a utility player who could see time in both the infield and outfield.

This team is experienced with most of the team starting since their freshman years. Head coach Rex Sawyer will look for the team to have a better approach at the plate and play better small ball.

Ava opens the season on Mar. 21 at Clever.

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