By Chris Parker
There are many talented softball players across our coverage area. Below are some of the softball players to watch this season.
NOTE: The athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
Taylor Akers, Kickapoo Senior
Akers is one of the area’s fastest players and a real weapon on the basepaths. Her speed helped her earn Second-Team All-Conference honors last year. Those skills translate well to her spot in the outfield. Akers has verbally committed to Missouri State University.
Cassidy Coambes, Rogersville Senior
Coambes will provide experience and stability at the hot corner for Logan-Rogersville this year. She earned Class 3-Second Team All-State and First-Team All-Region honors on the infield as a junior. She was also a First-Team All-Big 8 infielder.
Landry Cochran, Carthage Senior
Cochran is a two-time All-COC selection. The centerfielder earned first-team all-conference honors two years ago and honorable mention all-conference honors last season. Expect her to push back towards a first-team spot as a senior with a move back to the middle of the lineup. She had 20 RBI last year.
Sierra Dailey, Branson Senior
Dailey became the first player in Branson Softball history to earn first-team all-state honors last season. She led the team with a.464 batting average and 37 RBI while posting a 3.19 ERA in limited time in the circle. She will serve as Branson’s primary pitcher this year.
Nevaeh Dodson, McDonald County Junior
Dodson can do a bit of everything for McDonald County. Last year, Dodson earned Class 4 First-Team All-Region honors as well as First-Team All-Big 8 honors at both pitcher and outfield. She hit .480 with 23 RBI while posting an 8-4 record with a 3.22 ERA as a pitcher in her sophomore season.
Peyton Eaton, Nevada Sophomore
Eaton was an immediate two-way force for Nevada as a freshman. The Class 4 Second-Team All-State pitcher went 19-9 with 108 strikeouts and a 3.08 ERA in 147.2 innings pitched. At the plate, Eaton was an extra base hit machine. She hit .316 with 16 doubles, eight triples, 20 RBI and 18 runs scored.
Emmalee Essary, Republic Senior
Essary is poised for a big season this fall as Republic’s only senior. The first baseman and pitcher was named First-Team All-COC last year after she hit .372.
Jordyn Foley, Ozark Senior
Foley had a standout junior season earning Class 5 Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-COC honors as a pitcher. She posted a record of 20-7 with a 2.26 ERA. Foley is looking for an even bigger junior year after a strong summer.
Phobe Gardner, Nixa Senior
Gardner is one of the area’s top returning hitters. The senior shortstop earned Class 5 Second-Team All-State honors with on the strength of her .485 batting average including 50 hits and 35 RBI to go with strong play at shortstop. She is 22 hits away from breaking Nixa’s record for career hits.
Makena Hall, Aurora Sophomore
Hall had no trouble adjusting to the varsity game as a freshman. She earned Class 3 Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-Big 8 honors as a catcher. In addition to strong defense and leadership behind the plate, she also hit .480 with a 1.309 OPS, 15 RBI, 23 runs and a staggering 36 stolen bases.
Madison Hamby, Rolla Junior
Hamby missed out on all-state honors and earned second-team all-region honors last year. This year, the all-state committee will have to keep an eye on the Rolla starting pitcher. She led Rolla in the circle with a 25-6 record and 218 strikeouts in 194 innings pitched as a sophomore. Her work as a pitcher helped Rolla finish as state runner-up.
Taylor Heimbaugh, Rolla Senior
Rolla advanced to the Class 4 state championship last year, and Heimbaugh was at the center of a lot of the scoring for that team. The senior shortstop earned Class 4 Second-Team All-State honors after she hit .417 with 35 RBI and 37 runs scored. She either scored or drove in 21% of Rolla’s runs last year.
Savannah Hughes, Ozark Senior
Hughes played all over for Ozark on her way to Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-COC honors last year. She saw time at pitcher, first base and in the outfield hitting .337 with 34 total hits and 32 RBI. She posted a 2-1 record in limited time pitching.
Allyssa Joyner, West Plains
Joyner was a two-way star for West Plains last year. The Class 4 Second-Team All-Region Pitcher posted a 2.60 ERA with 99 strikeouts while hitting .410 with 10 RBI at the plate. She was also named First-Team All-Ozark Conference.
Chloe Krans, Nixa Senior
When the game is on the line, Nixa wants Krans at the plate. She hit three go-ahead of walk-off home runs last year. That included the walk-off home run in the eighth inning of the district championship game. The second baseman hit eight total home runs on her way to Class 5 Second-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-COC honors.
Zoe Lockhert, Camdenton Junior
Lockhert will be a leader for Camdenton in her junior year coming off Class 4 Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-Ozark Conference honors in her sophomore season. She will be in the outfield once again this year.
Maddy Meierer, Nixa Senior
Meierer is a true ace in the circle for Nixa. She was named Class 5 Second-Team All-State and First-Team All-Region after she went 17-5 with a 2.10 ERA last year. She is 117 strikeouts and seven wins away from breaking the Nixa career records in both categories.
Alyson Miller, Willard Junior
Miller is one of the area’s top returning power hitters coming off a season where she hit six home runs. Her career total stands at 14 home runs after two seasons. The junior third baseman earned Class 4 Second-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-COC honors last year.
Reagan Myrick, McDonald County Senior
Myrick hit .454 with 27 RBI on her way to Class 4 Second-Team All-Region and All-Big 8 honors in the outfield. She is a four-year starter for the Mustangs who has a good blend of speed and power at the plate.
Jadyn Pankow, Joplin Sophomore
Pankow had a big freshman season that saw her earn Class 5 Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-COC honors. She will likely move from the outfield to first base this year, but will still be a big bat in the middle of the order for Joplin.
Karsyn Phillips, Glendale Senior
Phillips will be the leader for Glendale softball this year. She is a five-tool shortstop who earned Class 5 Second-Team All-Region and First-Team All-Ozark Conference honors in her junior season.
Allison Scott, Kickapoo Sophomore
Kickapoo graduated strong pitching prior to the 2021 season. Scott helped the Lady Chiefs not miss a beat. She was named Ozark Conference Pitcher of the Year as a freshman and will return there this year.
Jaka Sharp, Halfway Senior
Sharp returns as one of the top players in Class 1. She was named First-Team All-State and All-Region along with Polk County Player of the Year. She will split time at shortstop and pitcher this year. Her bat really sets her apart after she hit .586 with a .659 on-base percentage last year.
Emma Thiltgen, Dixon Junior
Dixon is poised to be one of the area’s best Class 2 teams coming off a strong fall and spring season. Thiltgen earned Class 2 Second-Team All-State and First-Team All-Region honors as a sophomore on the strength of her .463 batting average and 1.251 OPS. She also drove in 15 runs and scored 17.
Allisyn Vance, Reeds Spring Senior
Vance is a force at the plate for Reeds Spring. The Class 3 Second-Team All-State and First-Team All-Region outfielder hit .509 with a 1.034 OPS including 22 stolen bases as a junior. She was also named First-Team All-Big 8 in the outfield.
Zoey Williams, West Plains Senior
Williams was named Class 4 First-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-Ozark Conference on the infield last year. The senior shortstop posted a .704 slugging percentage with 26 RBI and 16 stolen bases as a junior.