Last updateFri, 23 Jan 2015 11am

Softball season begins on Monday

Fall softball is set to begin at Cuba High School. The first game of the regular season takes place at home, as the Lady Wildcats host New Haven next Monday, August 25. This year’s Wildcats roster includes 28 ballplayers, with most of the squad from the 2013 team returning. CHS lost two seniors from last year’s starting lineup—outfielder Jessie Switzer and shortstop Lacey Sanazaro—and though their bats will be tough to replace, Coach Steve Schuette believes he has the makings of a pretty solid team.

“All of our varsity players from last year are back, except for the seniors we lost, so that helps us. We should be better in that respect,” said Schuette. “It’ll be hard to replace what Lacey and Jessie brought to the lineup, but we have other kids stepping up and taking over the leadership roles.”

Schuette said he holds high expectations for the defense to keep the Lady Cats competitive. “Defensively, we’re about where we were last year. Our defense is going to have to help us out, along with our pitching,” he commented. “We need Tiffany (Gruver, the team’s starting pitcher) to throw strikes and not walk batters. If we control the walks and play solid defense, we should be able to play with everybody we’re going to see on the schedule.”

New additions to the regular season schedule include a trip to Houston and a home game against Linn. The Lady Cats will again host the Cuba Tournament on September 13 and play in the Richland Tournament on September 20.

This year’s district tournament (host site still to be determined) will include a couple of new teams. Belle and Linn have moved out of the district bracket, while Iberia and Vienna are now in. Cuba, Bourbon, and Steelville make up the rest of the district playoff teams.

“The district will be tough, with Iberia coming back in. They’ve been one of the best teams around for the past few years,” Schuette said. “I think by district time, if everybody sticks together, we could be okay. A lot of it will depend on how we hit this year.”

There are 10 new freshmen on the softball team, and one of them, Madison Farace, has been selected for the varsity squad and is likely to be part of the starting lineup. There are four seniors on this year’s team—Jessi Ettinger, Mica Holland, Ciara McDonald, and the injured Josie Seely.

“We have some talent on this team, and most everyone has been working hard. I think we could surprise some people,” Coach Schuette said.

The 2014 Lady Wildcat roster includes seniors Ettinger, Holland, McDonald and Seely; juniors Michaela Forester, Evie Griffith, Tiffany Gruver, Viola Kays, Paige Martin, Tierra Martin, Hannah Mitchell, Katie Peak, Bethany Snodgrass, and Taylor Williams; sophomores Rylee Chainey, Caitlin Edgar, Alyssa Hemby, Bailee Phipps, and Fellicia Powers; and freshmen Natalie Baker, Britani Davis, Farace, Alison Hagene, Skylan Humphrey, Megan Matchell, Hannah Rose, Marie Seely, and Kristen Smith.