|The Monett Lady Cubs concluded the 2010 softball campaign with a 16-11 record. Although the Lady Cubs feature a younger roster this season, they figure to compete for a Big 8 Conference title.|
Monett has finished second in conference play the last two seasons with games against Carl Junction being decided by one run and determining the ultimate conference champion.
"Four days into the season, we are excited about this team," said Head Coach Ty Goetz. "There are some talented young players to mix in with a very good junior class. There is definitely some competition for some positions, which will only make us better. If we can mature quickly, I feel like we could be a fun group.
"We could be towards the top again in our conference after finishing second the last two years," continued Goetz. "Carl Junction will be the team to beat in both conference and district. Our strengths will be our speed, and hopefully, our offense."
The Lady Cubs return several quality players. Juniors Raigan Ratliff, Andrea Soriano, Jessica Harper and Josee Krueger will be counted on to lead this young Lady Cubs squad.
Ratliff was an All-Conference and All-District first team selection last season. She batted .436 and scored 31 runs for the Lady Cubs.
Soriano hit .393 and added 21 RBI and was named to the All-Conference second team.
Krueger finished with a .341 batting average, 18 RBI and scored 23 runs for Monett. She was and honorable mention All-Conference selection.
Sophomore Kelsey Wiseman returns and will play first base for the Lady Cubs. Wiseman hit .410 and had 20 RBI for Monett last season. She was named to the All-Conference and All-District second teams.
The Lady Cubs line up could feature as many as five freshman starters. Newcomers to the softball team are: Cassidy Franke, junior; Brooke Madison, freshman; Abby Krueger, freshman; Ally Krueger, freshman; Kendall Bounous, freshman; Brooke Burnside, freshman; and Haylee Morris, freshman.
"Our pitchers, Raigan Ratliff and Ally Krueger, both pitched very well over the summer," said Goetz. "Defensively, Brooke Madison, Josee Krueger and Abby Krueger, all looked very sharp. Offensively, Kelsey Wiseman, Andrea Soriano and Brooke Madison hit the ball hard during our summer league. I have high hopes for this team."
The Lady Cubs will be tried and tested this season with their schedule.
"I feel like we have a great schedule," said Goetz. "We play in two very challenging tournaments at Springfield and Carthage where we will see Class 3 and 4 powerhouses. We will also play defending Class 3 champion Nevada, who beat us last year by a single run. Our key game will once again be Carl Junction."
The Lady Cubs open the season at home next Tuesdasy against Ash Grove. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m.