Lady Pacer softball team returns four seniors, looks to improve on last year’s season

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The Switzerland County Lady Pacer softball team has begun practice and will begin its season tomorrow (Friday) at 3 p.m. in Lawrenceburg with a doubleheader. After an undefeated regular season last year before being upset in the Sectional, this year’s squad looks to finish some unfinished business from 2005.

The team is coached by Steven Konkle and the assistant coach and jayvee coach is Rob Daugherty. Holly Jackson, who played on the team and graduated last year, is a volunteer assistant while attending college; Fred Ross will also be volunteering his help in keeping stats for the team. Beth Abbott and Kaitlyn Rayles will be helping out the team as managers; and Jenna South will be the public address announcer as the season gets underway.

Steve Konkle is in his second year as varsity coach and was assistant coach the previous two years.

“This year is not just about pitching but a solid defense and hitting,” the coach said.

There are 24 players on the team — which includes junior varsity players. There is scheduled at least four non-conference games for the jayvee; and hopefully there will be a jayvee game after each conference game.

Coach Konkle is looking forward to the season getting started with four seniors returning who all lettered last year.

— Senior Natalie Daugherty is returning as the team’s catcher. “Natalie is arguably the best catcher in the conference; she had very few passed balls last year, maybe one.” Coach Konkle said. “She was not voted all conference last year and probably should have been. She is a powerful hitter and has the possibility of a home run with the power of each swing.”

— Senior Kodi Driver will be returning as the team’s pitcher, and is recovering well from a knee injury suffered in the summer. “Kodi looks good,” Coach Konkle said. “Control may be an issue, but she has always been able to throw strikes. I’m looking forward to her offensive skills, with her having a home run last year.”

— Senior Natalie Graham will return to third base this year. “She is one of our most steady players and has a tremendous arm.” Coach Konkle said. “I’m looking forward to her offense blooming this year.”

— Senior Ashley Chase will also be returning to her position at shortstop. This is her sophomore season at this position as she didn’t start playing high school softball until last year. “Ashley is one of our finer athletes; she has range and speed.” Coach Konkle said. “I look forward to her offensive ability with power that she has. She is hitting fourth in the line up.

Four juniors who lettered last year will be returning to the team.

Ashley Bright will back at her position on second base; and Kayla Konkle will be returning to help out at pitching and playing some infield. Jennifer South and Sara Craig are also juniors who will be returning to help out the team.

Coach Konkle said the sophomore class is strong, and that will help the program for years to come.

“Courtney Cole will be a returning starter as a sophomore. I am looking forward to her offense and seeing her getting better with the bat.” Steve Konkle said. “Tanya Sefton is also a returning sophomore leading off the line up for the team. She will be learning a new defensive position this year, and will be playing center field for us.”

Courtney Cole and Tanya Sefton each lettered last year.

There are seven other sophomores returning that will be helping out the team: Amber Smith, Megan McCarty, Rachel Rodgers, Melissa Raiser, Amanda Hale, Emilee Waldron and Morgan Ross.

On the freshman roster are: Rachel Tressler, Jessica South, Jenna Daugherty, Kelsi South, Kim Fox, Karista Wengert, and Ashley Johnson.

Some of the goals Coach Konkle talked about included setting up a clinic for the Vevay-Switzerland Little League program and possibly introducing a traveling team at the end of the season.

Coach Steven Konkle and his Switzerland County Pacer varsity softball team are looking forward to hosting and winning the Sectional this year and the first Regional win.