Sometimes change is inevitable, so even though former Community R-6 varsity softball coach Brandon Talbot was incredibly well-liked, the fact he's no longer at the helm doesn't mean this team isn't striving to reach the top of the Eastern Missouri Conference standings.
"Since we are changing coaching staffs and have so many young girls contributing to our team, I am looking forward to seeing the girls improve in every position and get better every day," said new head coach Haley Nobis. "We should hit the ball pretty well, and we are extremely athletic. We competed in a lot of games last year but came up just short, and I would love to see us finish those games stronger than we have in the past."
Stabilizing this program in the face of this current youth movement will be returning players like seniors Alissa Curtis, Taylor Cope and Sirrina Dunn. As for the returning juniors and sophomores, outfielder Taren Clark and infielders Deann Brooks and Natalie Thomas have been assigned the task of providing the speed this squad needs to compete, which is an element it will rely on even more than it did last year because of all the personnel changes that's taking place within this program.
"We have seven freshmen joining the team this year, including a new battery in the field of pitcher Emma Angel and catcher Emmi Johnson," Nobis said. "We have struggled defensively in years previous, and I look for that to be improved this year as well as we have many sure handed and experienced players returning."
Last year the Lady Trojans went 5-10 EMO. That includes both the league tournament and a playoff run that ended much quicker than some might have liked.
"Being one of the smallest, if not the smallest school in a very big, very talented EMO conference, it can be an uphill battle sometimes and we play a tough schedule, but I feel we can compete this year in many of the match ups," said Nobis. "Some stand out games will be with rivals Wellsville-Middletown, VanFar, Silex, Mark Twain, Hermann, fellow 1A school Marion County and we play in a couple of primarily smaller school tournaments in Paris and New Franklin that we should compete well in."
As for Nobis herself, even if she's new to this position, it's a jump she's dedicated herself to making. Otherwise the fact she's also an assistant cheerleading and girls high school basketball coach may become choices that require some type of refinement.
"We have played well and competed against all of these teams in the past," Nobis said. "With so much talent and athleticism returning this season, I see no reason for that to change".