Owls, Braves softball excited for new season next week


Softball coaches Jerry Burton at Seymour and Darren Bryant of Brownstown Central had some of their questions answered on March 17 when their teams played a practice game at Seymour.

They hope to have some more questions answered early next week as the Owls open their regular schedule Monday hosting Brown County, and the Braves will open Tuesday against Hauser at home. Both games begin at 5:30 p.m.

Burton said, “I think one of our strengths is we’ve got a lot of depth. We’ve got a lot of people competing for starting opportunities. Obviously, we’re only going to be as good as our pitching.”

He listed Kendrick Sterling, Avery Stewart, Alexia Rieckers and Phoebe Underwood as the girls who will battle for innings. Sterling is a senior, Rieckers a junior, Stewart a sophomore and Underwood is a freshman, and all are right-handed.

“Kendrick and Avery are the only ones that have experience at the varsity level,” Burton said. “We’re working on their location. I’m hoping to see good location from them.”

He said he expects Kynadee Warner and Kendrick Sterling to lead the Owls in hitting this spring.

Burton said he feels confident about the defense with Sydney Stewart returning at catcher with Kendrick Sterling at second base, Kendall Allman at third base, and Warner, Camryn Sterling and Alexia Rieckers in the outfield.

Other seniors are Kayla Gambrel and Kaylee Waskom.

“There are a lot of players that are battling for playing time,” Burton said. “We have good flexibility. We’re going to have to score runs this year and our pitchers are going to have to do a good job.

“We can’t always be involved in a 5 or 6-run ballgame and still plan on winning the game. It’s not going to happen sometimes. There are teams we’re going to have to beat 2-1. We’ve got to cut down on the strike outs. We had a pretty high number. We’ve got to put the ball in play. Good things happen when you do that. I always think positive and set the standards high.”

Bryant takes over as head coach of the Braves after assisting Monte Ault since 2009.

“I think pitching will be one of our strengths,” he said. “We’ve got good pitching and good depth with our pitching.

“We’ve got good senior leadership in the (twins Emily and Erin) Singleton, and Zoe Stuckwisch, Maddison Britain, Peyton Brock and Brooklyn Watson.

“With one of the seniors (Emily) being a senior, it’s nice to have an older, experienced player there. Emily caught part-time last year and played outfield part-time, but she is our full-time catcher this year.”

Bryant said he looks for sophomores Kelsey Schneider and Rylee May and junior Rylin Huddleston to head the pitching staff. All three of them did some varsity pitching last spring. May is a left-hander and the other two are right-handers.

During the game at Seymour, Kyndle Huddleston played first, Stuckwisch second, Erin Singleton was at shortstop and Schneider was at third.

Emily Dillman has the inside track in left field, Kinzee Dean in center, and May will open in right field and when she is on the mound, Watson will play there.

“We’re going to have some speed at the top of the line-up,” Bryant said, and mentioned Schneider will bat leadoff, and both Singletons will bat near the top of the order. “They Singletons are very good base runners and very fast.

“I think defense and pitching, combined, will be really strong. I’m hoping we can win the (Mid-Southern) Conference. It’s been a long time, when my oldest daughter played, and she is 34. We want to beat Seymour, and win the sectional.

“We’ve got some depth beyond our starters.”

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