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Lakota Softball

March 28, 2014
The Advertiser-Tribune

Coach: Chris Chalfin (49-24), fourth season.

2013: 15-10, 6-5 MAL.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Alaina Bickford (SS); Ally Hovis (1B); Kyleigh Harrison (OF). Juniors Morgan Gangwer (P); Nikkia Cooper (OF/IF/P); Destiney Long-Meyer (OF). Sophomores Bree Long-Meyer (C); Aubrey Bickford (3B); Aspen Ray (2B); Sam Miller (RF).

Others: Juniors Qiana Palos (OF); Chelsea Kern (1B/C/3B); Khilee Baltz (Util). Sophomore Taylor Odom (P/IF). Freshman Brianna Ray (P/IF).

Outlook: Last year, a relatively young and inexperienced team returned to the district. This year, Chalfin hopes a veteran-laden squad can do even better.

"I hope that the kids want to be better than that. My goal is to move up in the league, move up record-wise with more wins and fewer losses, and compete with the teams at the top of the league," Chalfin said.

"We've got a lot of kids with varsity experience. We had a pretty decent year last year for having a young team. I expect us to be competitive. I expect us to be able to compete and have chances to win games," he said.

A solid group of players led by a solid individual won't hurt.

Gangwer returns to the circle and the batter's box to lead the way. The first-team MAL player went 15-8 with a 3.03 ERA and 109 strikeouts, and hit .456 with 22 runs, 28 RBIs and eight doubles.

Alaina Bickford also finished as a first-teamer after batting a team-best .508 with 26 runs, 27 RBIs and five triples.

Aubrey Bickford (.394, 23 RBIs) was an honorable mention MAL player, and Ray (.380, 10 RBIs), Hovis (.370), Bree Long-Meyer (.321), Cooper (.311, 21 runs, 11 RBIs) and Miller (.303) all hit better than .300.

The 10 veterans and and about twice that many other players in the program give the Raiders both plenty of depth and enviable task of trying to find them all playing time. Of course, that's when they can play.

"I don't know if its a weakness or a challenge. We've got a lot of good players, which I guess is good for competition," Chalfin said. "The biggest concern now is getting the doggone fields dried out."



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