Sidney softball has hopes of keeping their two conference championship streaks going this summer.
The Cowgirls have won four straight regular season conference championships and three consecutive tournament titles.
This year’s team can’t afford the slow start last year’s team had if the regular season streak is going to continue, as three of the five scheduled conference games take place during the first eight calendar days of the season. The conference tournament caps the season’s second week.
Olivia Larsen is back to lead the Cowgirls in her final high school season. She’ll start as the team’s top pitcher after striking out 27 with a 4.48 ERA in 65 2/3 innings last year. She’s also the team’s leading hitter, which helped her earn third-team all-state honors a year ago. She hit .419 with nine of her 31 hits going for extra bases.
Sophomore Makenna Laumann is the leading candidate to take over the number two pitching spot for the Cowgirls. She threw just three innings last season. She’ll likely play third base when Larsen is pitching. Laumann hit .190 at the plate.
Junior Jolie Sheldon starts at catcher for the fourth straight year. She was first-team all-conference last season with 27 hits and 17 RBI.
Sophomore Faith Brumbaugh returns after spending much of last summer in center field. She’ll attempt to duplicate her offensive success this summer. She hit .333 and shared the team lead with 17 RBIs last season.
Sidnie Baier, Danica Laumann and Myrna Rodriguez all return and are joined by Larsen as the team’s four seniors.
Baier hit .242 with 12 RBIs, Laumann hit .271 with 15 RBIs and 11 stolen bases and Rodriguez finished with a .268 average and 10 RBIs.
Junior Tia McClane and sophomore Harley Spurlock also look to earn their way into the starting lineup. Spurlock started 10 games last season while McClane missed last season, but was one of the first Cowgirls off the bench as a freshman.
Larsen said there are several younger athletes wanting a spot in the lineup as well. Freshmen Mia Foster, Aunika Hayes, Emily Hutt, Lily Kingsolver and Kaden Payne saw time last season and look for more this year. Eighth-grader Fallon Sheldon is also expected to challenge for a lineup spot.
With all those players returning, Larsen’s team boasts a strong lineup that should challenge the opposing pitcher each night out.
“We should be able to hit the ball up and down the lineup,” said Larsen. “Our outfield should be good and the corner infield will be solid.”
The Cowgirls play their first game of any kind in nearly four months when they open the season June 15 at Fremont-Mills.
Larsen said working the girls back into shape is a concern to start the season while health and safety continue to be the top priority.
Sidney’s home opener is June 17 against Shenandoah. The Cowgirls also host East Mills, Griswold, Riverside and Bedford during the regular season.