Chase County coach will look to rebuild softball ranks next season

    As happened last year, seven seniors will graduate from the Chase County softball team later this school year, so rebuilding will be key for the 2018 team.
    The Lady Longhorns will have some experience returning in the outfield and at first base, but all of the other varsity position starters will graduate.
    Coach Denise Smith is hoping the confidence she saw grow among the younger players the past season will carry over to 2018.
    The Chase County softball team concluded its season earlier this month at districts.
    Finishing with a 4-28 season record, Smith acknowledged much of the team lacked the experience of the previous year.
    However, the growth she witnessed in team cohesiveness and confidence was a big positive.
    “To see that confidence grow, that’s something that doesn’t show up in the stats,” Smith said.
    “As the year went on, the girls became more comfortable,” she said.
    Most of that was due to the fact seven of the nine starters played at a different position than they had previously. Only pitcher Sydney Vetter (who played first much of the time in 2016) and catcher Andrea Page returned to positions they played before.
    Smith said she’ll be anxious to see how much of the confidence comes back with the 10 potential returning players next year.
    The team will have some experience on the mound returning in 2018, but most of that came in JV games this season.
    Carissa Hill, who was in line to be the No. 2 varsity pitcher this year, missed all of this season with a knee injury.
    Other returning pitchers will be Sydnie Allen and Morayah Cupp.
One new record set
    While there was one new career softball record set, a couple of other players were close to tying others.
    Lauren Gockley now holds the school record for best career one-base percentage.
    After adding in this year’s .600 mark, Gockley’s career on-base percentage is .474. That overtook the .462 record held by Anna Bauerle, Smith said.
    Andrea Page was very close to several other offensive records, Smith noted.
    One was career hits. Page compiled 99, just seven shy of the record of 106.
    Her six career triples were just one short of the record of seven, and her career runs batted in (RBIs) tallied 79. The RBI record is 86.
    Offensively this season, Page and Gockley were the team leaders.
    Gockley led the Lady Longhorns in number of hits (29), batting average (.397) and on-base percentage (.600). Her 12 RBIs were third best on the squad.
    Page led the team in RBIs with 19, and had the second highest number of hits (26), second highest batting average (.356) and third highest on-base percentage (.536).
    Defensively, freshman Riley Vrbas led the team in fielding percentage with .947 at first base.
    “As a freshman, she did really well for never having played first,” Smith said.
    Varsity pitcher Sydney Vetter faced 890 batters this season after the team relied on her for the majority of the pitching.

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