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McKENZIE — The Bethel University Lady Wildcat softball team is looking forward to an exciting season of competitive play in the upcoming 2019 season. Coach John Weeks enters his …
McKENZIE — The Bethel University Lady Wildcat softball team is looking forward to an exciting season of competitive play in the upcoming 2019 season. Coach John Weeks enters his second season at the helm after finishing 15-36 overall and 8-20 in the SSAC. The record doesn’t reflect the team’s accomplishments. Last year’s team was the only team from the conference to record wins against each school in league action. Twenty losses were by three runs or less, 15 by two or less and 10 by one run. The Lady Wildcats finished 5th in the SSAC Tournament last year. Weeks is joined by former Ole Miss standout Elantra Cox who is in her first year as an assistant coach.
This year’s team is led by two seniors, Iesha Kizer (RF) and Julia Abney (CF/C). Kizer returns as an All SSAC First Team selection hitting .368, on base percentage of .492, 46 RBI’s and 13 home runs. Abney returns with stellar defensive play and looks to add power the the hitting lineup.
The Lady Wildcats return a veteran squad including Billie Douglas (P), Madisen Adkins (P, OF) pitcher, outfielder and slapper, Dallas Weatherly (OF). Weatherly, returning from injury, hit .381 in 2017. Melissa Williams (UTL) whose knee injury kept her out almost all of last season will return. In addition, a junior transfer, Jezabelle Quintana (P, INF) brings depth and experience to the pitching staff.
Bethel’s sophomore class has the most returning players that saw experience in 2018. Maddie Cochran (LHP, 1B) brings a strong competitive attitude and mound presence that showed very capable moments in 2018. Lexee Miller (OF) returns as a solid left fielder and strong plate presence. Hollee Henson (3B) returns with much needed experience and ability to drive in needed run support. After being sidelined for much of 2018, Morgan Hunt (UTL) brings quickness and versatility to the 2019 team. A sophomore transfer pitcher Darcie Gibson (P) adds depth to a staff that looks to improve upon last year’s season.
This year’s freshman class looks to bring about a resurgence of enthusiasm and competitiveness to the field. They are very talented, athletic and bring about a youthful experience needed to step in and fill many of the roles needed for the team. Alexis Wheeler (C) is expected to see much time behind the dish and brings a solid bat to add to the lineup. Three lefties, Melanie Alexander (1B, OF), Mackenzie Caldwell (CF) and Amanda Perry (2B) will add depth and skill at their respective positions. Alexander brings pop and power to the plate, while slappers Caldwell and Perry bring speed to the fast game. Madison White (SS) brings skill, range and quickness to the middle of the infield. Gillian Grahn (3B, 1B, C) shows toughness, versatility and brings power to a lineup. Emily Lunn (1B) adds depth to her position and brings a welcomed punch with the bat. Faith Fesmire (OF) adds speed and depth to the team.
The Wildcats open the season February 23, 2019 at home against Missouri Baptist University, Bryan College and Grace College in the Bethel Classic at the Kahlden Complex. Times of the games will be released later.
The Lady Wildcats will be road warriors in the upcoming campaign. The schedule consists of 55 games with 32 of those being either road or neutral site games. Twenty three doubleheaders are on the schedule.
Expectations are high as a renewed enthusiasm surrounds the Wildcat softball program. Coach Weeks commented, “We have had a great fall and are looking forward to an exciting spring season. We have a system in place, players with great attitudes and work ethics, and an atmosphere of competitiveness across the field. We have worked diligently in the classroom and on the field and understand success takes time and is a process.” He added, “We will play First Pitch to Last Out!”