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story.lead_photo.caption RICK PECK/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS The 2019 McDonald County Lady Mustang softball team.

For a softball player to hit .500 is a great accomplishment at any level.

For a high school softball coach to do the same in district and conference championships is just as much a feat.

2019 McDonald County High School

Lady Mustang Softball Roster

Varsity

Number Name Grade Position

3^Zoe Parish^10^2nd/P

4^Melanie Gilming^10^1st

5^Emily Emmert^12^OF

7^Mariana Salas^10^3rd/C

8^Hannah Padilla^10^OF/P

9^Alexa Hopkins^11^P/IF

10^Reagan Myrick^10^C/IF

12^Kaylee Eberley^12^OF

13^Whitney Kinser^12^3rd

14^Adasyn Leach^10^SS/P

16^Madeline McCall^10^P/IF

17^Rita Santillan^12^OF

20^Catlin Hall^12^OF

21^Madison Grider^10^OF

22^Kristin Cornell^12^OF/2nd

24^Jackie Grider^12^C/IF

26^Deorica Zamora^11^OF

Freshman

2^Kya Baisch^9^IF

6^Ashley Dornon^9^OF

11^Kylan Horton^9^IF

15^Maggie Pratt^9^IF/OF

18^Amanda Pacheco^9^IF

19^Kaylee Banta^9^OF

23^Lexi Abbott^9^OF

25^Annalisa Ramirez^9^OF

27^Kaitlin Puckett^9^OF

^Julia Setzer^9^C

Lady Mustang Softball Schedule

Date Opponent Level Time

Aug. 24^Jamboree at TBA^Varsity/JV^10 a.m.

Aug. 30^at Carthage^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 3^East Newton^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept.5^at Marshfield^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 7^at Bolivar/Ozark^Varsity^TBA

Sept. 9^Joplin^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 10^Reeds Spring^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 12^at Aurora^Varsity/JV^4:40 p.m.

Sept. 16^at Neosho^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 17^Seneca^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 19^at Cassville^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 23^at Nixa^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 24^Lamar^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 26^at Nevada^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Sept. 27-28^at Univ. Central Mo.^Varsity^TBA

Sept. 30^at Hillcrest^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Oct. 3^at Logan Rogersville^4:30 p.m.

Oct. 5^at Carthage JV Tourn.^JV^TBA

Oct. 7^Webb City^Varsity/JV^5 p.m.

Oct. 8^Monett^Varsity/JV^4:30 p.m.

Oct. 11-12^at Carthage Tourn.^Varsity^TBA

Oct. 14-19^District Tourn.^Varsity^TBA

But that is exactly what McDonald County High School softball coach Skyler Rawlins has done in his first four years at MCHS.

The Lady Mustangs won the second of both of those titles last year, finishing the season with a 24-5 record after losing to Ozark in the sectional round. Last year's season gives Rawlins a 79-35 record in his four years at MCHS.

Even with the loss of all-state catcher and four-year stalwart Kylie Helm from behind the plate, the Lady Mustangs are among the favorites in the conference and district outlooks for the upcoming season.

Leading the way is McDonald County's 1-2 punch on the mound of Alexa Hopkins and Madeline McCall, with both earning first-team all-conference honors last year.

Hopkins, a junior, and McCall, a sophomore, combined to win all 24 of McDonald County's games last season. Rawlins said they will alternate on the mound this season with the one not pitching manning first base.

"They have two different styles of pitching," Rawlins said. "Alexa is a ground ball, contact type pitcher who moves the ball around the strike zone really well. Madeline is a power pitcher and gets a lot of strikeouts. They both find a way to get people out and give us a chance to win every time we take the field."

In addition to the two pitchers, McDonald County has four more returning starters back, including Whitney Kinser, Rita Santillan, Kristin Cornell and Kaylee Eberley, all entering their senior season.

Kinser, a third baseman, hit .352 with 21 RBIs last year while Santillan, a speedy centerfielder, hit .344 with 17 RBIs and 16 stolen bases out of 17 attempts.

Santillan earned first-team all-conference honors while Kinser was named to the second team.

"Whitney will be key in the middle of the lineup for us to score runs," Rawlins said. "She also is a very good third baseman. Rita doesn't let many balls hit the grass in the outfield. Her speed at the top of the lineup is a big advantage, but she can hit with some power too."

Eberley and Cornell filled out the outfield last year, but Rawlins said Cornell will possibly be moved to second base making room for returning letterman Emily Emmert and Caitlin Hall in the outfield.

Moving in at catcher replacing Helm will most likely be freshman Reagan Myrick.

"It's always hard to replace a four-year starter, especially at catcher and one with the talent of Helm, but we think we have a really good one with Reagan," Rawlins said. "She has played a lot of ball and knows what's going on behind the plate. We expect big things from her as a freshman."

Rawlins said another key newcomer will be Adyson Leach, who Rawlins said will play shortstop or possibly third base if he decides to move Kinser to short.

Rawlins is optimistic for the upcoming season, noting that another district and conference championship are the team's goals. Rawlins said Monett, Reeds Spring and Logan-Rogersville will be the Lady Mustangs main rivals for the Big 8 Conference championship.

"For us to win consistently we have to throw a lot of strikes and play good defense," Rawlins said. "We think we will be able to swing the bat well enough to score some runs, especially with our speed. Our goal every year is win conference and districts. If we can do those two things and get in the playoffs anything can happen. We would really like to get past sectionals."

McDonald County opened its season on Aug. 24 at home, hosting East Newton and Nevada in a three-team jamboree beginning at 10 a.m. The season kicks off for real on Aug. 30 at Carthage. The Lady Mustangs' home opener is set for Sept. 3 against East Newton at 4:30 p.m.

Sports on 08/29/2019

Print Headline: Softball Gearing Up For Another Run

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