WELCH — Getting over the top is the goal of the Welch Lady Wildcat softball team.
The Lady Wildcats came within an eyelash of qualifying for the state tournament last season, but top-ranked Arnett claimed a 7-2 victory in the championship round of regional play.
“I feel we are perfectly set up to do well this year,” said first-year Welch coach Hanna Haraughty.
Haraughty succeeds Sam Schaper at the Lady Wildcat helm.
Schaper, Lady Cat coach the past three seasons, now is head baseball coach at Independence (Kansas) High School.
A 2002 graduate of Chetopa High School, Haraughty played softball at Labette (Kansas) Community College.
She graduated from Fort Hays (Kansas) State University with a degree in elementary education.
“We were really close last year and our goal this year is state,” Haraughty said.
The Lady Wildcats opened their season with the Catoosa Festival.
The Welch roster includes five seniors: Addison Chenoweth, Hailey Haskell, Olivia Pitcher, Brennae Perkins and Maddie Schaper.
“They are veterans and we will get a lot of leadership there,” Haraughty said.
She feels defense will be the Lady Wildcats’ strength.
“Our infield is solid with those seniors,” she said. “Offensively, we are going to be strong. I want to work on us getting quality at-bats. I have two freshmen coming in (Reagan Etzel and Avery Brannon) that hit well during the scrimmages. I look for them to also contribute quite a bit.”
Welch, 27-10 a year ago, hit .388 as a team while scoring 298 runs.
“I like to score as many as you can because you never know when one hit will make the difference,” Haraughty said. “To me, three or four is not quite enough. I want to score as much as we can.”
The Lady Wildcats infield includes Schaper at first, Second Perkins at second and Chenoweth at shortstop.
Pitcher and Haskell will alternate between third base and the circle.
Taylor Foust will be behind the plate.
Haraughty said the outfield is unsettled.
The Lady Wildcats played some games during the summer, have practiced daily since mid-July and scrimmaged Kellyville twice.
“I think we are at the point now where we are ready to get some games in so we can see what our weaknesses are and move on,” Haraughty said.