Cavaliers softball is looking to make a mark on the 2020 season with 10 sophomores and eight freshmen. With a wide variety of pitching, hitting, and defense, the team expects to be a strong contender for a 22nd consecutive NJCAA Div. II Region 4 Championship, which would punch a ticket to another the National Tournament in Clinton, Miss.
The Cavaliers will depend on strong play and leadership from eight returning sophomore starters from last year’s squad that finished 13th in the country.
Matti Lanie led Region IV in stolen bases in 2019 and will once again patrol center field. She'll lead fellow speedsters Madalin Evans (Sophomore, shortstop), Jenna Raines (Frehsman, outfield), Makenna Wessels (Freshman, outfield), and McKenna Goldtrap (Freshman, outfield). Gabby Schultz (Sophomore, 3B) finished 5th in home runs and 2nd in runs batted in for Region IV last year. She'll continue to provide consistent hitting and power in front of other big hitters Ashley Riner (Sophomore, 3B), Emma Schriner (Sophomore, outfield), and Aubrey Durdan (Sophomore, P/1B). Kenna Kleinert (Freshman, 2B) looks to bring timely hitting and great defense and leadership to fellow incoming freshmen Kayden Mines (Freshman, 1B), and Alexis Britton (Freshman, C). Payton Kerness (Sophomore, C) is the only returning catcher from last year’s regional championship team, and will be expected to help lead the team and anchor the catchers.
The Cavs solid pitching will be expected to dominate, with returning starters Maddie Wallace (Sophomore, P), who finished 3rd in earned run average and 5th in strikeouts in the region; and Hayley Edmonds (Sophomore, P), with the addition of Shelbi Westfall (Freshman, P). The incoming transfers Lanie Malone (Freshman, MI) and Paige Glass (Sophomore, C) will provide more depth and power to an already potent lineup.
With dependable hitting, power, speed and some veteran top-pitching, the Cavs expect to compete in a tough Region IV with solid opponents Triton, South Suburban, and Prairie State. The schedule also includes match-ups against top ranked Rock Valley, Parkland, Danville, Madison, and Lincoln Land. With so many top-level adversaries, the Cavaliers should be well-positioned for a long and successful 2020 season.