LOOGOOTEE — The nature of high school sports is that each season the roster is different. The 2014 Loogootee softball team faces the exodus of three seniors that made an indelible mark on the Lions’ program in their high school careers.
When Loogootee coach Greg Clark looks out at his team this season, he won’t see former Loogootee standout’s Remington Wagler and Gabrielle Ritchey, but the Lions’ have plenty of talent coming back. Loogootee finished last season with a 9-14 record after losing 11-0 in the Class A Sectional 63 Championship to rival Barr-Reeve.
“I’ve been very pleased with practice so far — the kids are working hard,” Clark said. “We have went back and visited all the fundamentals and we’ve been able to build on that. The kids have accepted the challenge.”
Loogootee returns five seniors’ Madison Zins, Emma Graber, MacKenzie Walker, Kelsy Seals and Taylor Hayes. Junior Chassidy Bridges will get a majority of the work in the circle as Loogootee’s top pitcher. Seals and Bailey Davis, who will play shortstop will also help out in the pitching rotation. Renee Whitman, Brittany Woody and Emily Brookshire will round out the Lions’ pitching rotation.
Despite the loss of Ritchey, who is Loogootee’s all-time hits leaders and Indiana’s all-time stolen base leader and Wagler in the circle, Clark is confident in the girls he has coming back from injury.
“The big thing is we have Kelsy Seals back from a knee injury, we have Taylor Hayes back from a shoulder injury — those were big players for us as sophomores,” Clark said. “Kelsy played for us as a junior last year, but she wasn’t 100 percent and she was out there giving us everything she had. Having her back at 100 percent, is going to be a big plus for us and then having Taylor Hayes back from that shoulder injury, which took her out of junior year will be big for us. She (Hayes) has really stepped us for in practice. She’s been playing third base and hitting the ball a ton.”