With no seniors on this year’s team, this group of juniors will be relied upon for their leadership on the Lady Longhorn softball team, from left, Carissa Hill, Sydnie Allen, Emma DeGrasse and Valerie Herbert. (Johnson Publications photo)

Earliest of sports, softball opens season on Tuesday

    While most are concentrating on the Chase County Fair this week, Lady Longhorn Coach Denise Smith has softball on her mind.
    That’s because Chase County’s first high school game in the short six-week fall season is next Tuesday, Aug. 21.
    That leaves just a couple practices left and a pregame workout Monday before they are on the field for the season opener at So. Valley.
    The opener will take the Lady Longhorns on the road where they’ll face So. Valley/Alma and Blue Hill in a triangular. Games begin at 4:30 p.m. MT.
    With a roster of 13 players, and two who are injured, Smith said they’ll have just 11 able bodies available for next week’s opener.
    It’s a fairly young team this season, with no seniors on the squad. In fact, 2018 graduation left the team without most of its infield and the starting pitcher and catcher.
    Only last year’s first baseman is back as far as the infield goes, she said.
    “We won’t have a lot of varsity experience back,” Smith said.
    “At this point, we’re going to have to play defense well.”
    One of the four juniors on the team, Carissa Hill, will lead a group of five pitchers, Smith said. However, Hill has missed the past two seasons with injuries, but is ready for the mound this fall.
    Joining her as pitchers include Sydnie Allen, Morayah Cupp, Morgan Peterson and Jordan Jablonski.
    Smith said Monday she’s still finalizing positions and what the best options will be, and secondary positions they will be able to play.
    It’s always a challenge getting ready for the first game, and the season as a whole.
    “I can never stress enough how fast the season goes. By Labor Day, we’ll have played a third of our schedule,” Smith said.
    She will be loooking to the four juniors for leadership this season—Hill, Allen, Emma DeGrasse and Valerie Herbert. All but one of them, Herbert, have been on the team three years.
    Here is the rest of the team roster:

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