Last season was a challenging one for the Paris varsity softball team, but because head coach Mike Fible kept working to figure out what each of his players does well, not only was the squad able to end 2016 on a high note, but they also now have a platform to launch this years efforts from.
"Our team will be very athletic all the way through the line-up. With this amount of athleticism we should be able to force teams to make plays against us offensively," said Fible. "Also, because of our athleticism we will be able to make defensive plays we did not make last season."
Gone from a year ago because of graduation for the Lady Coyotes are catcher Britany Williams, second baseman Betsy Embree and outfielders Jessica Staples and Jenna Zeimer. In their stead is a crop of talent that's new to the varsity, but could contribute in 2017. This includes seniors Hannah Mitchell , a catcher, and second baseman Mary Stahlschmidt, junior pitcher Emma Addie and freshmen outfielders Jasmine Lock, Alexis Hartgrove, Kelsey Wilson and Kaylee Mitchell.
"We are going to struggle with situations early in the season," Fible said. "I am going to be starting several players in new positions or that are new to the program. I expect growing pains early in the season but once we have some experience I feel that we will overcome the mistakes from early in the year."
The foundation for this years efforts comes from its returning athletes, such as junior first basemen Mollie Cupp and Jessie Hoffman and outfielder Delaney Miller. Also coming back from 2016 are sophomore infielders Abbi Tuma, Erin Heinickie and Danielle Anderson and outfielders Kylee White and Elizabeth Cupp, who will spend some time at catcher this season, as well.
"The entire (Lewis and Clark) conference is very good. There is not one team that can just run away with a conference championship," said Fible. "The key for us to be in the conference championship hunt late in the season is to not give away games early in the season."