PERU – The Bobcat softball team will return just seven members from last year’s squad, but is optimistic for much success this upcoming year. Head coach JL Thomason will enter his second season at the helm of the Peru State softball program. Thomason is excited to get the new campaign started with the new look team in 2019.
This season, the Bobcat softball team has three seniors, as well as, several transfers with playing experience from other institutions. The group of freshmen brings success from the high school level and various select teams and could make an immediate impact for this program.
The pitching staff for the Bobcat softball team will be led by senior Morgan Ritchie (Lincoln). Other returning pitchers from last season’s team are senior Taylor Moya(Keenesburg, Colo.) and junior Ally Hazen (North Platte). Four newcomers, all freshmen, will round out the pitching staff for the Bobcats. Expect Alana Krieser(Lincoln) to see a lot of starts in the circle this season. Also, Bailey Bitz (Ravenna), Gabby Stage (Olathe, Kan.), and Jennifer VanDeWalle (Aurora) will be in relief roles this spring.
Senior Erin Snyder (Omaha) is the lone returner behind the plate in a Bobcat uniform. Expect to see both Hazen and sophomore Shelbi Audsley (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) at catcher when not at other positions in the field. The Bobcats also add freshman Andrea Page (Palisade) to set up behind the dish this upcoming season.
Peru State comes into this season returning three infielders, all who had plenty of experience this previous year. They are Hazen, Audsley, and junior first baseman Tyler Farrell (Brandon, Fla.). Also in the infield will be a pair of junior transfers, Jordynn Jimenez (Delano, Calf.) and Alejandra Vivar (Lima, Peru). Rounding out the group of infielders are freshman Alena Montoya (Lakewood, Colo.) and Madison Davis (Hickman).
The group of outfielders have a pair of returning starters in Moya and sophomore Regan Kirby (Gretna). Also expect to see junior Alyiah Franco (Syracuse, Utah) and sophomore Takia Walker (Enterprise, Ala.) in one of those outfield spots this spring. The Bobcats also add Payton Beckmann (Syracuse) into the mix.
The Bobcats will begin their campaign this upcoming weekend in Batesville, Arkansas as they take part in four games at the Lyon College Tri-Match. The following week they will travel to Lindsborg, Kansas, to face the Bethany College Swedes at 3 p.m. on February 22nd.
Coach Thomason feels very optimistic for the potential success that this group has shown up to this point. He hopes to have the long list of newcomers make an immediate impact in several different positions to mix in with the returners so they can compete highly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. The team looks to get back into the Heart conference tournament for this first time since the 2013-14 season.
Thomason, now in his second season as the head coach, stepped in to begin last spring after the passing of long-time head coach Mark Mathews. He is being assisted by Brooks Ivey (Falls City), who begins his third season on the staff. Melissa Golus (Holdrege) is in her second season as the graduate assistant athletic trainer.