Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mustangs Look to Close Out Girls Softball with a Bang

In what could be the last two years of Mustang Softball, new skipper Kit Meiners is hoping her squad will finish out their tradition with a bang. North Nodaway won 16 games last year and looks to be a contender this year despite the loss of Bethany Herndon, Madison Thompson, and Kelsi Oberhauser. Meiners, who was an assistant for the last year and an assistant at Northwest Missouri State for several years before that, will be assisted by Torri Blythe, who was a standout softball player both at Maysville and at Northwest.

She said the strength of this year’s team would be their defense and their attitudes, which she said had been great this year. She said Platte Valley would be a team to watch for. However, North Nodaway brings in an experienced pitcher-catcher duo with Keagan O’Riley and Makayla Cross. Cross, who played baseball last spring, is hoping that hitting a baseball will help her see the softball better.

The Mustangs have a big junior class coming up; other horses on that class include Kristin Herndon, who will anchor down an infield that looks to be solid. Chloe Schimming, a West Nodaway athlete who plays with North Nodaway under a cooperative agreement, is fully healed from a knee injury and knocked O’Riley’s first offering a long ways for a double; she looks to be one of Meiners’ big guns at the plate. Ashley Thompson will provide a big target at first and has really improved her hitting over the summer; she ripped one a long ways in practice. Audrey Trimble, a slap hitter, and Emma Hart will play in the outfield along with Alicia Davison, who can be either a slap hitter or a power hitter at the plate, wherever Meiners needs her. Taylor Combs can hit it a long ways when her bat speed is there. An upperclassman, Bailey Tate, can fill in as well along with Emily Dew.

Among younger players who could get to play, Jaden Dobbins, Shea Dailey, and Kandace Damgar all vied for time on the infield Thursday, with Dailey doing a lot of damage at the plate, hitting a pair of triples Thursday. Karissa Oberhauser, Kelsi’s sister, caught a screamer from Combs and turned a double play; the Mustang freshman has shown some early promise with her glove.

Keagan O’Riley will handle most of the pitching; however, if she goes down or gets tired, Chloe Schimming can step in and pitch; she proved to be capable; Audrey Trimble can pitch as well. Emma Hart can back up Cross behind the plate if necessary.

North Nodaway has already begun the process of phasing out softball and phasing in volleyball; they have hired a new volleyball coach who will oversee a junior high program this year. If the Mustangs are to turn back the clock in softball, the goal will be to give everyone something to talk about and inspire some of the younger students to give softball a try.

They will know right away where they are in softball this weekend, as they will travel to North Harrison to participate in their tournament this weekend. Last year, they lost to Worth County in the championship game. Other tough games on their schedule include Plattsburg, Maryville, two games with Worth County, Savannah, and King City.

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