Area softball season set to begin

Mar. 19—With the first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday afternoon at Lapel, the 2023 softball season will be underway.

And if there is as much excitement as the 2022 season brought, this should be a fun spring.

Both Madison-Grant and Pendleton Heights return large portions of semistate teams while sectional champion Frankton brings back Butler commit and THB Sports Softball Player of the Year Makena Alexander. Elwood remains a deep and dangerous sectional team while Alexandria, Anderson, Daleville, Lapel, Liberty Christian and Shenandoah all have talented cores and should be much improved.

Here is a glance at the 10 area teams that will be in competition this spring:


Coach: Sarah Almack; 2022: 5-17; Key Losses: Kendall Parker, Tristen Dunn, Emma Smith; Expected to Return: Ashlynn Duckworth, Jacklynn Hosier, Taylor Roundtree, Olivia Jones, Natalee Morrow


Coach: Rebecca Herman (5th season); 2022: 7-12; Key Losses: Jada Bliss, Tamara Hendricks, Katelynn Weir; Key Returning Players: Autumn Coon, Mariyah Summitt, Emma Wilson; Newcomers to Watch: Riley Ferguson, Jayson Swink, Arwen Stump; Potential Breakout: Stump

Outlook: "The girls are excited to get the season underway with our new complex ready to play on," Herman said. "We have several key returning players and some new ones who we hope will step up and show everyone what they can really do. Definitely trying to develop some new habits this year and get them game ready."


Coach: Jeremy Pattengale (2nd season); 2022: 6-12; Key Returning Players: Cali Pattengale, Valyn Pattengale, Emily Simmons; Newcomers to Watch: Miley Womack, Zoe Shihemi; Potential Breakout: Womack, Shihemi

Outlook: "Every day we are faced with choices. Each choice brings us to another choice," Coach Pattengale said. "Every seemingly small choice paves the way for bigger choices. Sometimes those choices become life-altering choices. So this year the Broncos will talk about those choices, reflect on those choices and pave the way for these Lady Broncos to make choices that better themselves and their lives, the lives of people around them, team work, sportsmanship and feeling good about who they are. What a high school sport is supposed to be about, not wins or losses but the privilege to represent your school's logo. So we will focus on one word this year. That word is choice."


Coach: J.R. Reese (7th season); 2022: 18-9; Key Losses: Jaleigh Crawford, Morgan Scott, Kaylee Guillemette; Key Returning Players: Makenzie Cornwell, Yzabelle Ramey, Olivia Shannon, Alivia Boston; Newcomers to Watch: Kelsey Armes, Abbi Johnson, Averi Savage; Potential Breakout: Armes, Johnson, Savage, Maddie Parkhurst

Outlook: "We have a great mix of well-seasoned players and new players and looking forward to seeing what the season brings," Reese said.


Coach: Jeremy Parker (24th season); 2022: 19-8, sectional champion; Key Losses: Adyson Coppess, Abby Duncan, McKenzie McCorkhill, Lauryn Williams, Cassidy Gibson; Key Returning Players: Makena Alexander, Jilly Hilderbrand; Newcomers to Watch: Paige Parker, Aubree Engelking

Outlook: "We are still trying to find our identity, but with (a) tough schedule (we) feel like we will be ready when it comes to the tourney," Parker said. "Great group of girls that work hard every day to get better. That makes it fun to still coach."


Coach: Elizabeth Balback (2nd season); 2022: 13-9; Key Losses: Ashlynn Allman, Taylor Williams; Key Returning Players: Krystin Davis, Taylor Mroz, Hannah Laughlin; Newcomers to Watch: Paige Stires; Potential Breakout: Ava Everman

Outlook: "With the majority of our team back from last year, we expect our upperclassmen to lead our newcomers to build on our growth," Balbach said. "Our girls are selfless, hard-working players who are willing to do what is best for the team."


Coach: Rick Brown (1st season); 2022: 9-14; Key losses: Mady Rees, Maddie Mercer, Rileigh Graham, Sydney Graham, Shameel Clervrain; Key returning players: Jenna Rigdon, Angel Watson, Anna Blower; Newcomers to Watch: Aubrey Southerland, Morgan Spearman, Kylie Willis; Potential Breakout: Watson, Rigdon

Outlook: "I have high hopes for this season," Brown said. "I'm excited to begin my career as a head coach. Our goals are to win our conference and to improve our win-loss record from last year."


Coach: Travis Havens (4th season); 2022: 24-6, Grant 4, sectional and regional champions; Key Losses: Chelsea Bowland, Chelsea Parker, Madisyn Standridge, Anzlee Thomas, Gracey Fox, Carmen Enyeart; Key Returning Athletes: Daya Greene, Katie Duncan, Elizabeth Lee, Makennah Clouse, Johnna Hiatt, Demie Havens, Carley Holliday; Newcomers to watch: Maddy Moore, Maegan Wilson, Keiona Finley, McKenna Craig; Potential Breakout: Hiatt

Outlook: "Our outlook or expectations for this year won't be any different from the last two seasons," Havens said. "We believe that we will have a legitimate chance to win every game on our schedule. Now, that doesn't happen very often, but that will be our mentality. We have to replace a lot of graduated offense and fill three spots in the field. However, we feel like we have the kids that can step up and produce what the team needs. A lot of people feel like we may be a little down this year. We don't see it that way. We're trying to motivate our kids with the lack of respect that we may be getting. As always, we expect to be competing for multiple championships this year."


Coach: Rob Davis (13th season); 2022: 25-7, Madison County, sectional, regional champions; Key Losses: Hailee Brunnemer, Kieli Ryan, Brynn Libler, Caroline DeRolf, Khloee Gregory; Key Returning Players: Bo Shelton, Eliza Findlay, Shelby Messer, Kiah Hubble, Kelly Coffel, Sydney Clark, Kaitlin Goodwin; Newcomers to Watch: Kylie Fisher, Gloria Richardson; Potential Breakout: Clark

Outlook: "(I'm) excited for this group of girls to get their opportunity to (make) Arabian softball history," Davis said.


Coach: Christy Myers (2nd season); 2022: 16-11; Key Losses: Kenedi Helms, Kaylin Nolen; Expected to Return: Alyssa Allen, Tarran Mills, Kayla Muterspaugh, Emma Whittenburg, Starlight Lee, Aurora McKnight, Lydia Schwagmeier, Elise Boyd

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.