2022 Fall Preview: Marshfield Softball

By Pat Dailey (For OzarkSportsZone.com)

Marshfield is rallying around Morgan Green, as the Lady Jays infielder returns for her senior season following a bout with leukemia and a stroke.

“She has battled back and I am looking forward to seeing her on the field again,” coach James McAnarney said. “With what she has gone through, I believe she can do anything.”

Green, who was forced to sit out her junior season a year ago, is among a handful of Marshfield veterans with starting experience.

The four starters back from last season’s 17-9 bunch are catcher Kirsten Ward, shortstop Halle Menzie, outfielder Macie Vestal and pitcher Camryn Elliot.

Ward and Menzie were both All-Big Eight Second-Team selections last year, while Vestal received honorable mention recognition.

McAnarney values Ward’s power stroke in the batter’s box and the intangibles she brings Marshfield from behind the plate.

“Kisten was our calming factor last year,” he said. “She manages the game very well. She led the team in home runs last year and I don’t see that falling off this year. Kirsten was a solid bat in the middle of our order last year. She has worked hard coming into her senior year and we should see her power output increase.”

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Vestal is making the move from left field to center.

“I feel she can step into center very comfortably this year,” McAnarney said. “She was in the middle of the order last season and I am looking for her to hit somewhere at the top this season. Her speed will help track down a lot in the outfield.”

Green, Ward and Vestal bring leadership to the Lady Jays’ dugout.

“They have been a positive influence for the team,” McAnarney said. “They are like coaches on the field. I’m very excited that they are here and ready to play.”

Menzie gives Marshfield speed at the top of its lineup and a dependable glove at shortstop.

“Halle is my most experienced infielder. She helps make us solid up the middle,” McAnarney said. “Halle is a multisport athlete (and) running track last year has made her quicker.”

McAnarney likes the composure Elliot shows in the center circle.

“Camryn pitched very well for us last season,” McAnarney said. “She doesn’t get rattled and her velocity has increased. She will also play some infield when she isn’t pitching. I feel her power has increased at the plate as well.

“Kennedy Ross, a sophomore, and Gabi Austyn, freshman, should see some time in the circle as well,” he added. “That should be our deepest position.”

As for the starting jobs up for grabs, McAnarney is confident the Lady Jays have newcomers who will prove they belong.

“It is wide open for those to make it,” he said. “I feel that the girls are up to the challenge.”

That group includes infielders Isabella Whitlock, Adyson Clark, Audrey Odell and Kayla Ward, along with Ross, an outfielder.

“Kayla has shown some power this off-season and should compete for first base,” McAnarney said. “Audrey can play multiple infield positions and should push for some playing time.”

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Along with Austyn, freshmen who could play are outfielders Chloe Bateman and Taryn Mohn.

“These three play with a lot of confidence and seem to play at a level older than they are,” McAnarney said.

McAnarney likes Marshfield’s defense and hopes the Lady Jays’ baserunning improves.

“Pitching and defense should be our strengths,” McAnarney said. “Kirsten is solid behind the plate and with the experience in the circle and up the middle, I feel that we should make a lot of plays.

“Baserunning takes work,” he added. “We will definitely be working on it.”

Marshfield will look to contend for the Big Eight title.

“The Big Eight is such a tough conference,” McAnarney said. “It seems, one team can beat another team on any given day. Even though we lost a considerable amount of talented players, I feel that we should be competitive.”

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