The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 13, 2013

'Riders prepared to debut in softball

Crowder College softball coach Lori Videmschek believes offense and defense are strengths of the Lady ’Riders.

Now, if the pitching and catching will mature quickly.

“We’re young in the pitching and catching areas,” Videmschek said Tuesday afternoon before practice in an attempt to beat the scheduled rain. “But we have the nucleus returning on offense and defense.

“Our pitchers had a good fall,” she said. “They aren’t power pitchers. They’re able to hit spots.”

Crowder opens the season with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Thursday at Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa.

Crowder hopes to open its home slate this weekend with its Spring Festival. Saturday’s schedule is Crowder vs. 14th-ranked Lake Land (Mattoon, Ill.) at noon, Rose State (Midwest City, Okla.) vs. Lake Land at 2 p.m. and Crowder vs. Rose State at 4.

Crowder, on Sunday, will play a pair against Lake Land starting at noon.

Returning for Crowder are first baseman Brooke Hulsey (Neosho), second baseman Morgan Coleman (Webb City), third baseman Carson Forge (Hallsville), left fielder Shelby Stuck (Webb City), center fielder Jessica Neely (Nevada) and right fielder Kala Crisp (Farmington, Ark.).

The shortstop will be freshman Shyanne Nichols (Gravette, Ark.). Payton Appleberry (Republic) and Alexis Navarro (Marshfield) will handle the duties of catcher and designated hitter.

The freshman hurlers are right-hander Madison Barnes (Farmington), right-hander Allison Tonyan (Columbia Hickman) and left-hander Ashton Worth (Marshfield).

Andrea Drake, freshman infielder from Hickman, and Amber Taylor, sophomore infielder/outfielder from Carthage, complete the roster.

Taylor could see time in right field with Crisp battling tendinitis, Videmschek said.

“I have a good feeling about this team,” Videmschek said. “But the schedule is tough. We’ll see what areas we need to improve after February. We’re playing for April.”

Videmschek, who’s assisted by Danielle Smith, is in her fifth season as  head coach after helping Brandi Arthur for three years. Crowder finished 44-18 overall last season and 0-2 in its ninth national appearance.

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