If the 2020 spring high-school sports season had started, one of the most anticipated and competitive local campaigns on the public-school level was expected to be girls softball and involve four teams.
The defending region champion Langley Saxons, the 2018 state champion Madison Warhawks, the Marshall Statesmen and McLean Highlanders all had potential to have strong seasons again this spring, as was the case in 2019.
“We graduated a lot of players [eight seniors] from last year, but we still have a lot of good young players so we believe we have a chance to be good again and are looking forward to the season,” Langley coach Mike Sharkey said.
After winning the 6D North Region title last year, Langley then advanced to the Class 6 state tournament semifinals.
Langley’s top returner was senior shortstop and captain Sidney Torres, who will play in college at George Washington University. Other top players were pitcher Olivia Kim, pitcher/infielder Adelaide Loving, pitcher/outfielder Aiden Miller, catcher/outfielder Kira Lentz, infielder/outfielder Sarah Semko, infielder Maddie White and catcher/infielder Brooke Siegel.
Two players Langley was counting on but are hurt and may not have played were infielder Kylie Allen and catcher Reese Torres.
“We think it could be an exciting season and we are ready to get going,” Sharkey said prior to March 23.
Marshall finished second to Langley in the region last spring, and returned multiple players from that team, led by pitcher Torrie McNabb and catcher Lindcey Nelson. The Statesmen were expected to be district, region and state contenders.
“We feel like we were much better than last year and were chomping at the bit to get going,” Marshall coach Tom Kyllo said. “We had been hitting the ball a ton. Every year we have been getting better and we were hoping we could put it all together this season.”
Other top returners for Marshall were outfielders Emily Hoskins, Claire Armstrong and Grace Chamberlain, first baseman Emily Howell, second sacker Leah Macaluso, third baseman Ruby Stewart, shortstop Sela Scheinman and Bella Dudding. Kyllo said there were three freshmen who would make contributions as well.
Madison had its two-year reign as state champions end last season with a loss in the region tournament quarterfinals to McLean. The Warhawks graduated many key players and had a roster that includes just two seniors and numerous freshmen and sophomores in 2020.
“We would have been a young squad, but we were excited about what we had,” Madison coach Jim Adkins said. “We had a lot of young players who are good travel ball players, now they needed high school experience.”
Shortstop Nicole Giery and infielder/outfielder Keisha Young were Madison’s top two returners.
Lauren Oskuie was another top returner.
Sophomores Danielle Govan and Katelynn Park would have been Madison’s top pitchers.
“We were so focused on development, but the expectations for Madison softball are always high, so that hadn’t changed,” Adkins said.
McLean lost in the region semifinals to Marshall last season and graduated nine players from that team. A top returner was veteran pitcher Amanda Moore along with fellow senior Cassidy Blake in the outfield. Those two were the team captains. Kristen Kohler, a senior, was to play first, and sophomore Macey Johnson was the shortstop.
Senior Maddie Henry, sophomore Lily Brumbaugh and freshmen Gabby Colder, Taylor Statts and Kara Bremser would have been contributors.
“We had put in so much work since last season because we lost so many players,” McLean coach Maurice Tawil said. “Things were going very well and we were hitting very well before everything was shut down. We were very excited about the season and we wanted to see what we could be.”