Every team has holes to fill from the previous year.
This is really true for the LaRue County softball team.
“Graduating eight and having three seniors not return left many spots to fill, losing 11 at a time is rough,” coach Rocky Cundiff said. “Having solid JV and freshmen programs have kept us in good shape, keeping the varsity roster restocked. Losing Kellee Cundiff, Sarah Jo Calhoun, Emma Bell, Lauren Pollard, Alexandra Shelton, Haley Scott, Kristen Boone, and Lindsey Rucker to graduation hit us hard — pitching staff, second base, third base, first base and some big bats had to be replaced.”
Lost are 242 hits, 177 singles, 71 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 120 RBIs and 128 runs scores.
And that means there are no seniors on this year’s roster.
“The expectations for this team are no different than any other — improve every day, every game, every play, throw, catch, at-bat,” Cundiff said. “We will take it one game at a time and play who’s in front of us. These kids will give it their all and play team ball. Winning the district and region are always our goal, setting our sights lower than that would make everything we work so hard for senseless.
“We ended last season wanting more and that’s a good position to be in. When your season is over and the kids and coaches are ready to get right back at it, you know things are right. Hard work always pays off on and off the field.”
Included in those who graduated is every single pitch thrown between Kellee Cundiff and Calhoun.
Coach Cundiff will have newcomers inside the circle in junior right-hander Shianne Thompson, sophomore lefty Maleah English and freshman right-hander Kaitlyn Rucker.
Back for the Lady Hawks who saw the most action last year are sophomore third baseman Paige Evans (.407, 22 RBI, 29 runs scored), junior catcher Kelsey Hornback (.299/12/15), junior right fielder Tara Goodwin (.278/6/10), junior shortstop Emma Moore (.333/1/2) and freshman center fielder Natalie Gentry (.321/11/9). Evans had six doubles, six triples and two home runs, while Hornback collected four doubles and Goodwin three.
LaRue County will have English, Thompson and junior Hannah Perry at first; Rucker and eighth-grader Isabella Rivera at second; Moore at short and Evans at third; Rivera and Rucker in left; Gentry in center and Goodwin in right. Junior Madison Wilmoth and sophomore Alaura Allardice will also see time.
“The chemistry with this group and our coaching staff has been outstanding,” Cundiff said. “They come in every practice ready to work and get better. Their energy has been through the roof. This group communicates so well in everything they do, even things simple as setting up or picking up after practice.
“They are together making things work smoothly.”
The Lady Hawks won their first eight games a year ago and finished 21-15 a year ago, losing to Taylor County, 7-5 in the 5th Region Tournament quarterfinals.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Previews were written before the shutdown of schools and the postponement of the spring season.