The State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunners softball team has been busy preparing for its second season. Head Coach Lyndsey Talbot is pleased with how the 18 freshmen have acclimated to the collegiate game.
"All of our freshmen have adjusted well to the college level," said Talbot. "During the fall, we played against some NCAA Division II schools, and they handled it well. They are all level-headed players who work together."
Coach Talbot expects many of the freshmen to contribute this spring.
"Abby Rector and Jacki Watson are among the players we expect to perform well," said Talbot. "Gabi McGinty will do most of the catching. Madison Love will be key in the circle and will play first base as well. We also have three girls, Kylie Johnson, Lauren Watkins and Emily Wilson, who are coming off injuries and are getting healthy."
"Madison will be our main pitcher," said Talbot. "She consistently throws around 58 or 59 miles an hour. Macy Buzzanga can throw off-speed pitches. We also hope to get good innings from our returning pitcher/outfielder MacKenze Gudde."
Gudde, the first SFCC softball player to earn postseason honors, was named second-team All-Region 16 in the outfield and all-conference first-team in the Missouri Community College Athletic Conference. Gudde finished the season with a .329 batting average and led with a .566 slugging percentage. She led the team in home runs with eight, hits with 50 and had 34 RBIs. Gudde made 27 pitching appearances for a team-high 135 innings.
"All of our sophomores have shown great leadership to the freshman class," said Talbot. "Some have been vocal leaders, and others have led by example. When you have such a large group of newcomers, you definitely need that."
The Lady Roadrunners have a tough schedule waiting for them. They will open the season on Feb. 10 against Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas. The home opener is a doubleheader at 2 and 4 p.m. Feb. 17 against the Iowa Western Community College Reivers at Mandy Thomas Field in Centennial Park. Region 16 play will open with a doubleheader against North Central Missouri College at home on March 7.
SFCC fans can expect a dynamic style of softball from their team this season.
"I know there will be more aggressive play," said Talbot. "The players are very eager to steal bases."
Coach Talbot sees several keys to her team's success.
"Every season comes down to avoiding injuries and how well the pitching staff holds up," said Talbot. "We were a good defensive team in the fall; our offense just needs to come around."