Eagle softball looks for return to State

Saturday, March 29, 2014
(Courtesy Captured Images)

Coming off a strong finish last year, Uniontown High School's softball team is hoping that an experienced group of seniors can continue to build on that success.

The Eagele finished with a 9-10 overall record, 7-5 in in the Three Rivers League, but caught fire at the right time and went on to win the Regional, advancing to the program's first Class 2-1A State Tournament appearance at Emporia before narrowly falling to Oskaloosa, 2-1, in the first round.

Head coach Paula Coyan, entering her second year in charge of the team and her seventh in coaching softball, and assistant coach William Hathaway, back for his second year, will have seven returning starters, all seniors: Taylor Wade, Britney Stokes, Lakyn Coyan, Mandie Ridge, Amber Bartlett, Torrie Hathaway and Haley Felt.

Running down the lineup, Coach Coyan noted that, "Taylor Wade will do some pitching for us, as well as possibly first base. Brit Stokes will play second base. Lakyn Coyan will be at shortstop, and Mandie Ridge at third.

"Amber Bartlett is in left field and Torrie Hathaway will be in right, and possibly first base."

The team did suffer a temporary loss thus far though. Wade, who was slated to be the starter in center field suffered a dislocated knee on the second day of practice

"She will be out for four to six weeks," Coyan said. "So we are having to find someone for this position."

New to the team this year is junior Tyeesha Perry, who Coyan says will help the team offensively. Kyley Brown, Kate Del Caudro and Taylor Cooper are sophomores.

"Kyley came from Fort Scott," Coyan said. "She will help us out a lot in the pitching department, as well as any other place she is needed."

Cooper will be catching for for the Eagles, with freshman Daryan Herring also seeing time behind the plate.

The other two freshmen are the team are Holly Shinn and Katie Coll.

"Holly will see playing time in the outfield, as well as possibly first base," Coyan said. "Katie is doing a good job wherever we put her."

While it's not certain who will get the nod at first or who will fill in yet in center until Felt returns, the Eagles are optimistic as they open the season Tuesday at home against Yates Center.

"We have been working a lot on our hitting, which I feel is our weakness," said Coyan. "Our strength is defense."

Jayhawk-Linn and Chetopa have usually been tough teams in league play. Yates Center and Humboldt strengthen the non-league portion of the schedule.

"We are hoping to improve our record from last year by winning more league games and winning Regionals and possibly (going) back to State."

Coyan said she is pleased with the team's approach and attitude.

"These girls have been working hard in practice every day," she said. "Seeing them improve is the best part of the job.

"These girls are an awesome and special group of girls, who have a good work ethic. And I believe it will pay off on the softball field come game time."

NOTES -- If the Eagles do earn a return trip to State this season, they'll be going to Great Bend.

The KSHSAA calendar this year has State baseball and softball scheduled for after Memorial Day, which conflicts with an annual off-road bike race in Emporia called "Dirty Kanza." Having both events on the same weekend may leave Emporia without enough hotel rooms for those who wish to attend either event. The bike race has grown in its eight years to over 1,300 participants.


2014 UNIONTOWN SOFTBALL

Events begin at 4:30 p.m. unless noted.

VARSITY

April 1.............................YATES CENTER

April 3..................................at St. Paul, 3:30

April 7...................NORTHEAST, ALTOONA-MIDWAY, 4 p.m.

April 14............................................OSWEGO

April 18..............................JAYHAWK-LINN

April 21......................at Marmaton Valley

April 29........................................at Erie

May 8..................................at Humboldt

May 12............................................CHETOPA

May 15...........................at Jayhawk-Linn