2022 Spring Preview: Fair Grove Softball

By Chris Parker

If Fair Grove softball is to climb back above the .500 mark for the first time since 2018, it will be in large part due to the leadership of a quintet of upperclassmen.

“We have one senior, Bradi Weaver and four juniors, Jaelah McDannald, Taylor Rode, Hannah Morris, and Jena Scaletty who will lead our team this season,” Fair Grove head coach Tara Whetzell said. “Each athlete brings a different dynamic to the team, which in turn gives our leadership a quality of roles. Bradi Weaver has played for four years and will give the girls someone to look up to for experience and maturity. She will also be noticed and expected to bring some depth to our offensive lineup. Out of the four juniors, Jaelah McDannald fills the leadership role with her position on the mound, softball knowledge, and the presence one needs to lead a group of athletes. She has worked tremendously hard in this role for the past three years and has shown her strengths in the offseason. Jena Scaletty is able to shake things off easily and doesn’t let negativity get to her, which is very hard to do as a young athlete. Taylor Rode adds spunk and confidence, while Hannah Morris is the most positive leader we’ve ever had.”

McDannald and Scaletty will be the team’s top two pitchers. McDannald was a second-team all-conference and all-district selection.

“She (McDannald) is a consistent pitcher. She has a tough mentality, and strong knowledge of the game,” Whetzell said. “Jena Scaletty is a tough kid who keeps batters on their toes, has a strong knowledge of the game, and will go to battle for her team.”

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Weaver and freshman Brooke Daniels will handle the catching duties.

Around the infield, Rode will be at first base, sophomore Minna Morris will be at second base, Weaver will see time at third base, sophomore Faith Klindworth will play shortstop. There is also a group of freshmen competing for time as well. Daniels is a player who can play anywhere on the field.

Scaletty, Hannah Morris (junior), Reagan Johnson and several freshman are competing for time in the outfield.

“Our main strength this season will be our leadership. Our leaders are unselfish and are willing to make their teammates better,” Whetzell said. “Our team has to be consistent in order to make any improvements from last season. We work really hard and at times have glimpses of great things, but we weren’t able to put it all together and be consistent last season, which is what we hope to see this season. We play a really tough schedule, which is great, but we have to be able to produce runs and make plays consistently in order to be successful.”

There will be a large group of freshmen that will push returning players for innings in the varsity lineup.

“We have a group of eight freshmen, (which is) the biggest class we’ve had come out for softball,” Whetzell said. “This group comes with drive, grit, determination, and most importantly they will compete. We will expect some of them to earn varsity time this season. We make it known to all upperclassmen that each year you have to earn your spot back because there will always be underclassmen ready to take their spots.”

Fair Grove opens the season on Mar. 21 at home against Stockton.

“Our expectations for our girls this season is to make adjustments when needed and work towards being consistent,” Whetzell said. “If they can do that, then success will follow.”

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