It’s been a long off-season for the Maquoketa Valley ’ softball team. For the past 10 months, this very young squad has had to live with the nightmare of letting last year’s opening round regional tournament game against Clayton Ridge get away from them.
The Wildcats were all smiles up four entering the top of the seventh inning just three outs from moving on to round two and they painfully gave up nine runs to lose the game 19-14. It’s from that experience and many others like it during last season that has driven the Wildcats’ very inexperienced pitching staff to work hard so they will be ready to answer the call when they are given the ball.
“Last year we had a tough year for pitching with our girls being so young, but they have put in a tremendous amount of work and have made some great improvements on the mound,” said Macey Kintzle, first-year head coach of the Wildcats. “Many girls have put in a lot of work during the offseason that we can’t wait to see them apply during the games this season.”
Kintzle takes over a young staff that includes juniors Rylie Aldrich (6-12) and Allie Knipper (3-9) along with sophomore Payton Beaman (2-4) who are anxious to show what they have learned.
Maquoketa Valley was 11-25 last season and finished seventh in the Tri-Rivers Conference at 9-13.
Leading the Wildcats’ offensive attack will be seniors Maddie Lahr (.392, 11 doubles), Olivia Hoeger (.297) and Maddy Anderegg (.252). Last year, the Wildcats scored 205 runs but had just 77 RBIs. These three seniors combined for 21 RBIs.
“Our three seniors are great leaders and role models to have on our team and we are excited to see where this season takes them,” said Kintzle who knows that she’ll need to get contributions from her younger players if the Wildcats want to accomplish their goals for this year. “Our incoming freshmen have a lot to offer to our team. Their time and commitment to improving themselves have already shown and I am ready to see what they can do on the field.”
Another solid bat back in the line-up will be sophomore Taya Tucker (.280, 10 RBIs) and look for Leah Ries, a freshman catcher, to make an impact this season.