The 2019 State Fair Community College (SFCC) Lady Roadrunners softball team has been busy preparing for the upcoming season. Last year marked the most successful season in program history with a seven win improvement over the previous season, including a pair of wins in the Region 16 Tournament last April.
"I think we can definitely build off of the success that we had last year," said Lady Roadrunners Softball Head Coach Lyndsey Talbot. "We are bringing back 10 players. Our sophomores know the region and our competition very well. Leadership and experience will be important for this year's team."
Coach Talbot knows what style of softball she would like to see her team play this season.
"We have more speed this year, so we will be more aggressive running the base paths this season," said Talbot. ". We have a bunch of players who want to get the job done no matter what it takes. Hopefully, that will translate into games."
SFCC will be led by their large group of sophomores this season.
It all starts with Madison Love," said Talbot. "Emily Wilson is going to be a big part of what we do this season. We are hoping Victoria McCloud is able to take a big step forward and help us in the outfield. Abby Rector will be a staple in the infield for us."
The pitching staff is anchored by Love, who earned All-Region 16 Second Team honors as a freshman at utility player.
"Madison is definitely our game one starter," said Lady Roadrunners Assistant Softball Coach Michele Rupard. "The second game will probably be split between freshman pitchers Alissa Collette and Abby Rapp, once Abby is healthy. Sophomore pitcher Macy Buzzanga will help us out of the bullpen. They all have positive attitudes when they come to do their pitching workouts. They want to get better."
SFCC will open the season at home against the Iowa Western Lady Reivers on Saturday, Feb.16. First pitch from Mandy Thomas Field inside Centennial Park is scheduled for 11 a.m. SFCC will also take on Kaskaskia College at 1 p.m.
SFCC opens Region 16 play on March 20 when the squad travels to St. Charles Community College. SFCC will close regular season play at home on April 30 with a doubleheader against Fort Scott Community College; first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
"I definitely tried to set up a competitive schedule," said Talbot. "Iowa Western is always a top-tier program. They are always in the national rankings. We are playing Kansas City Kansas Community College which is always good program. We've added Independence Community College and Highland Community College-Kansas this year. We want to play a good schedule in order to help prepare us for region play, which is always difficult."
Some of the goals for the season are to finish in the top half of the region, as well as be more aggressive on the bases and clean up some things defensively.
Coach Talbot sees some keys to success for her team this season.
"We need to avoid injuries," said Talbot. "We also need to do the little things well and understand the situation both offensively and defensively. Our team this year is a very close group who are ready to get outside and begin the season."