By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Players, coaches and families gathered Monday night to celebrate a Chase County high school softball season that, despite being winless, was one filled with good memories.
Head Coach Denise Smith said it was evident as they watched a slide show that a lot of friendships were built this season.
“We hope to carry that on for next year,” she said.
At this time, even though it’s uncertain what the numbers will be, Chase County is planning for a 2011 softball season.
After a year without a team in 2009, this year’s season only had 14 games. The Lady Longhorns finished 0-14, but Coach Smith said she saw a lot of progress.
They also had to play more than half of the season without senior third baseman Lexee Reichert, who broke a finger that required surgery. Reichert earned a place on the all-tournament team at Scottsbluff.
She was one of four seniors honored Monday night at the end-of-season potluck at the Zion Lutheran Church.
Other seniors included Bre Brown, who moved ably from second to shortstop this season, “a big jump she handled well,” Smith said.
Brown was one of two honorary captains chosen by teammates this season. The other was junior pitcher Kacia Smith.
Senior April Bernard played center field, and earned a perfect attendance award for making every game and practice without an injury. Alysha Hopp rounded out the group of four seniors who led the team this season. A first-year player, she was Designated Player on varsity.
Kacia Smith raked in most of the individual awards at Monday’s dinner, including highest on-base percentage (.540), highest slugging percentage (.628), highest batting average (.465), most RBI’s (9) and highest fielding percentage (96%).
Smith also handled the majority of the pitching duties this season.
Smith’s on-base and slugging percentages, and her batting average were new season records for the team, topping the former records held by Tabitha Russell.
Freshman Cassie Burpo tallied the most stolen bases with five this season.
Coaches Smith and Jason Speck gave the four seniors plaques in the shape of a home plate, as well as a poster-sized photo of the group.
Gag gifts were also exchanged.
Coach Smith said there will be another survey of athletic team interest in the coming weeks to see what students will be interested in softball and other fall sports next year.