Coming off a 17-8 season in which it advanced to the Division IV district semifinals for the second time in three seasons, the Shadyside girls' softball team is looking to make some noise again this spring.
Head coach Jillian Ongley has a wealth of experience returning, albeit in underclassmen.
"We are excited to get back on the field after our successful season last year," she admitted. "We lost a few players from that team, but we have some freshmen and new players that are stepping up to fill the open spots.
PICTURED ARE the key returnees for the Shadyside softball team. Front row, from left, are Lindsey Dunn, Megan Heagney, Sarah Dierkes and Samantha Rosser, Back row, from left, are Kenzie Fielding, Shelby Benedetta and Angelina McKeever. Not pictured is Lexi Archer.
"I think our returning experience will be a major strength for us," Ongley assessed. "We've got quite a few girls with varsity experience under their belts, and playing a good game in the district last year should've helped with their confidence."
As it has been noted, success in softball starts in the middle of the diamond, and the Lady Tigers have one of the better pitchers in the Ohio Valley in Megan Heagney. Only a junior, she has already verbaled to Alderson-Broaddus after a pair of stellar seasons along the riverfront.
"Megan has had a very good career so far and we're looking for two more good seasons from her," Ongley said. "She has really improved in her first two seasons."
Fashioning a 17-8 mark, the hard-throwing righty earned second team all-Ohio Division IV, first team all-OVAC and first team all-district. She struck out a whopping 266 batters in just 165 innings, while recording a microscopic 1.27 ERA. She walked 51, allowed 87 hits and surrendered 56 runs, of which 30 were earned.
Proving she's just not a one-dimensional player, Heagney also cranked out 30 hits, five of which were home runs, while batting .379 and driving in 24 runs - all of which were team-highs. Her on-base percentage was .423 and her slugging mark .734.
Joining her on the roster are seniors Bethanie Ramsey (OF) and Kayla Soles (OF); juniors Shelby Benedetta (CF), Sarah Dierkes (C/OF), Kenzie Fielding (1B/SS) and Andrea Gooch (OF), Angelina McKeever (3B), Mackenzie Weaver (OF) and Brittany Jennings (OF); sophomores Lindsey Dunn (C), Sam Rosser (P/OF/2B), April McElfresh (OF), Hunter Dominguez (OF) and Haley Johnson (2B/OF); and freshmen Karly Klug (UT), Katie Heath (UT), Taylor Crow (OF) and Randi Jo McMahon (OF).
McKeever, a left-handed power hitter, earned first team all-OVAC honors last year after hitting .328 with a homer and 15 RBI, while Benedetta was second team all-OVAC and Dunn second team all-district. Benedetta batted .282, while Dunn hit .296.
"We've had a few injuries that we have had to overcome, but we should be healthy for the season opener," Ongley said.
Lost to graduation were the right side of the infield in Hayley Holenka (1B) and Alicia Gulley (2B), along with Saminda Francis (OF).
Ongley is assisted by Jaclyn Johnson and Dave Ragase.
March 29 - Bishop Donahue (DH), Noon; April 1 - at River; April 4 - at Magnolia; April 5 - at Beallsville, 11 a.m.; April 7 - at St. John; April 8 - Beallsville; April 9 - Monroe Central; April 10 - Magnolia; April 14 - River; April 15 -- at Bridgeport; April 17 - Martins Ferry; April 18 - Frontier; April 19 - Conotton Valley, Noon; April 21 - Bridgeport; April 23 - Steubenville Central; April 24 - at Barnesville; April 25 - at Monroe Central; April 28 - at Frontier; April 29 - OVAC Semifinals; April 30 - Barnesville; May 3 - OVAC Championship; May 5 - Buckeye Local; May 7 - at Steubenville; May 8 - at Buckeye Local