Softball Preview

Mounties to re-tool for another successful season


Coming off a 16-6 season and shattering nearly ever offensive record in the books, Southmont softball is once again geared up to begin its 2023 campaign. In doing so the Mounties will look to replace one of the best players to ever put on a Mountie uniform in Macie Shirk, as well as the leadership of Taylor Grino, Elizabeth Conkright, and Hanna Nichols from a year ago. However the Mounties do return six starters from last year’s team as they’ll re-tool.

“You just can’t replace players like those four seniors,” longtime Mountie coach Dan Taylor said. “Thankfully we have plenty of girls returning who were big parts of our offense last year. Anna Stokes and Chelsea Veatch will lead the way. These girls work very hard in practice, and we believe that our talent is deep enough to make us very competitive in 2023.”

Stokes returns after her phenomenal freshman campaign where she hit a blistering .492. Veatch batted .486 and she’ll be expected to fill in a leadership role in her senior season. Rounding out the other parts of the Mountie lineup will be likes of sophomore Jenna Grino, seniors Dara Watson and Brady Spencer, and sophomore Mallory Mason.

A season ago South hit .403 as a team and embraced hitting the long ball. While 17 of their 21 homers were hit by Shirk (11) and Nichols (6), there’s still plenty of reason to believe the Mounties will take the same offensive approach this year.

Shirk wasn’t just a prolific hitter for the Mounties last year, she was also their ace pitcher. Stepping in to fill the void will be sophomore Kyndale Rice who was the Mounties No. 2 last year. Taylor is confident in his sophomore and knows she can be the No. 1 that the Mounties will need.

“We have high expectations for Kyndale in the circle,” he said. “In varsity games last year as a freshman, she was 4-0 with a 3.50 ERA which was an outstanding year for a freshman. She threw 30% of our inning last year, and she was very effective. Kyndale mixes her pitches well and throws strikes. We believe she is ready to be the #1 pitcher, and we expect her to throw about 70% of our innings this season. She plays nearly year-round and works very hard at her craft.”

Southmont a year ago saw Sagamore Conference rival Western Boone celebrate a sectional title on their home diamond. This year with the sectional realignment, the Mounties will no longer see the Stars. They will still get the luxury of hosting the Class 2A Sectional 44 tournament but will have to go through state power South Vermillion who comes in ranked No. 4 in the pre-season 2A poll. The Wildcats made it all the way to the Semi-State a year ago.

“The new sectional will give us a different path to the post-season and some new challenges,” Taylor said. “We know that perennial power South Vermillion will be the favorite, and North Putnam will be very good this year. Even though we are young, we think that by the time we get to the sectional that we will be a team that has a good chance to battle for the championship.  As usual, the team that is playing the best softball at that time will likely win, and we hope that our team is able to be a position to do just that.”

The Mounties begin their 2023 season on Tuesday Apr. 4 when they travel to Attica.