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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

MHS softball poised for big year

Monday, August 13, 2012

(Photo)
Practice makes perfect. Monett's Josee Krueger fields a ground ball during Friday's softball practice. Krueger will anchor third base for the Lady Cubs on defense. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
The Monett Lady Cubs softball team took a major step forward last season.

The Lady Cubs finished the season with a school record 18 victories and claimed their second district title defeating Carl Junction 2-1 in the Class 3, District 12 title tilt.

Every starter from that Lady Cubs squad returns for action this season.

(Photo)
Throwing heat. Jessica Harper takes aim as she throws the ball into the infield during a drill in Friday's softball practice. Harper is one of four seniors on the Lady Cubs squad. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
"Returning everyone from last year's team is a huge advantage," said Monett head coach Ty Goetz. "We want to compete both for conference and district titles."

Monett's biggest strength this season should be its overall experience.

The softball team changed summer leagues this summer choosing to play in Carthage in order to see bigger high schools. The Lady Cubs took top honors finishing with an unblemished 10-0 record.

Monett also challenged itself by traveling to Centralia July to play eight games in the two-day event. The host school was also the defending Class 3 champion. Monett finished the shootout with a record of 7-0-1, tying with Jefferson City.

"All of our girls know what to expect on the varsity level, as well as what it takes to compete both in conference and in the playoffs," said Goetz. "I feel very comfortable with our pitching and defense this season. The key will be scoring runners and coming through with the clutch two out hits."

Returning for the Lady Cubs this season are senior All-Conference, All-District and All-Region honorees Raigan Ratliff, Andrea Soriano and Josee Krueger.

Ratliff hit .345 last season with 11 RBI, 27 runs scored and swiped 24 bases. She was 12-6 on the pitching mound with a 3.07 ERA.

Soriano has anchored the catching duties for two years. She hit .375 last season, with 17 RBI, 14 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.

Krueger displayed her power at the plate hitting .413 with 27 RBI, 26 runs scored and 19 stolen bases a year ago.

Seniors Jessica Harper and Cassidy Franke anchored the corner outfield spots for Monett last season.

Harper hit .261 with 6 RBI and 7 runs scored while Franke was consistent with a .316 batting average.

Kelsey Wisemen, a junior, was selected first team All-District. Wisemen slugged 24 RBI and scored 10 runs during her sophomore campaign.

The Lady Cubs also return four starters who are only sophomores, Allie Krueger, Abby Krueger, Brooke Madison and Brooke Burnside. As freshmen, these four ladies provided a major lift to the Monett lineup.

Allie Krueger was selected to the All-Conference, All-District and All-Region teams. She emerged as a dominating force on the mound with six consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts.

Abby Krueger added 11 RBI, 22 runs scored and stole 15 bases.

Madison and Burnside combined to account for 20 RBI, 23 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.

Also representing the Purple and Gold this season are: Sydney Bounds, junior; Kendall Bounous, Haylee Morris and Breanna Kelly, sophomores; and Ashton Ratliff, Leticia Rivera and Taylor Rhea, freshmen.

"I have been very impressed with everyone during the summer," said Goetz. "They are always wanting to work hard in practice and are very competitive. These 17 girls also have good personalities and are very tight knit. They like each other and want each other to succeed. Having team chemistry is a valuable asset to any successful team."

Monett opens the season on Aug. 22 at Pierce City.



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