Under a new coaching staff this spring, the Lady Greyhounds were predicted to finish seventh in the KJCCC East preseason poll. Coming off a 28-22 season, the Greyhounds return two sophomores. Sophomore pitcher Abby Cox (Gardner, Kan.) appeared in 30 games with 25 starts in the 2018 season. Cox (15-11) threw 162.2 innings with 123 strikeouts.
"Abby is a leader on and off the field," Fort Scott head coach Kae Lani Bryan said. "We expect her to be a leader for us in the circle. She has the most experience competing at this level. If Abby isn't in the circle, she will take over the reins at first base. Offensively, she's going to be someone who does some big things for us,"
Catcher Sierra Sanderson returns to her spot behind the dish after appearing in 50 games last year. She hit .365, had 57 hits and three doubles.
"Sierra is expected to be one of the contributors to start our offense this year. Her versatility will allow her to move out to the Outfield as well as the catcher's spot," Bryan said.
With 10 freshmen, the Greyhounds will look to grow early. Adding depth to the circle is freshman Delanie Freeze (Liberal, Mo.) and freshman transfer Katie Bunch (Grove, Okla.). Freeze, coming off a successful career at Liberal High School, is expected to do big things in the circle for the Greyhounds this spring. Bunch was added to the roster at semester. She was selected to the Oklahoma coaches association All-State team in 2018.
"Delanie and Katie will be huge contributors for us in the circle. Delanie has worked hard to build mechanics and confidence in the fall. Katie was a late pickup for us at semester. She has bought in since day one and has fit in really well here," Bryan said.
As Sanderson spent most of her time behind plate in the 2018 season, freshman Jordan Coddington is expected to give Sanderson a break this year.
"Adding Jordan to the mix this year gave us the opportunity to take Sierra out and put her in the outfield. Jordan has developed more vocalism behind the plate and has worked in the fall to better her mechanics. She could potentially see some time on the infield to give her a break behind the plate," Bryan said.
The infield will feature plenty of new faces for the Greyhounds this spring. Under the guidance of assistant coach Katy Taylor, a former infielder at Iowa University and an All-American at Labette Community College, a handful of outfield recruits have been converted to infielders.
"We had two true infielders coming in so we had to make some adjustments and mix it up to give us a different look," Bryan said.
Starting at the shortstop position will be freshman Olivia Chenoweth (Welch, Okla.). Chenoweth was added to the roster in July as a late signee.
"Olivia is a great athlete with a lot of potential in the KJCCC. She can play third base as well. She had a great fall for us. I'm excited to see what she does for us this spring," Bryan said.
Freshmen Lane Bohlken (Fort Scott, Kan.) and Adrianna Pedrow (Richmond, Kan.) look to take over second base. Bohlken came in as a utility and it's expected she will take on that role.
"Lane was recruited as a third basemen that could possibly see some innings in the circle as well. It is unlikely she will see any innings in the circle for us, but she could potentially see some time at shortstop too. Lane is a great kid with an incredible work ethic. She is one of our best contact hitters. I expect her to be in the middle of our lineup to generate some runs," Bryan said.
Pedrow is expected to get some innings at both second base and first base.
"Adrianna came in with a big swing. We knew immediately she could be a big asset in our offense. She has put in a lot of time working to be on the field defensively. Adrianna is a vocal leader for our team. She does a great job of making sure everyone is on the same page which is an important factor for team chemistry," Bryan said.
Looking to lock in the third base position is Makenzie Sample (Leavenworth, Kan.) Sample was recruited to see most time in the outfield, but her versatility has allowed her to see more time on the dirt.
"Makenzie has been a leader for us since day one. We knew we needed her leadership in the infield. Offensively, she is a big part of the beginning of our lineup," Bryan said.
Leading the outfield is redshirt freshman Kennedee Meier. In the fall prior to the 2018 spring season, Meier suffered a season-ending injury that led to a medical redshirt. Coming off that injury, Meier has worked all fall to regain strength and endurance to be able to on the field this season.
"Kennedee is a true testament of seeing hard work paying off. She is seeing results in the weight room and is constantly putting extra work in to better herself for her team. She has developed a better understanding for the game and will be a big asset for us this spring," Bryan said.
"Jozee and Kaylah were both late additions but have done a good job of coming in and living up to our expectations as a coaching staff. Jozee impressed us in the fall in the offensive category. She is someone who bought in quickly and has seen success from it. Kaylah has battled some injuries throughout the course of the fall. Kaylah will take over as a pinch runner and could see time in right field" Bryan said. Makenzie Sample and Katie Bunch are likely to see some time in the outfield as well.
The Greyhounds begin the season with a non-conference date at home against Coffeyville Community College on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. The Greyhounds then travel to Fort Worth, Texas on Feb 14. to play in the Cowtown Classic from Feb. 15-16. They will face Murray State, No. 10 Seminole State, Hill College, Blinn Community College and Alvin Community College.
Inexperience could show while facing such a tough schedule early, Coach Bryan thinks it may be what they need.
"Our coaching staff has conveyed to the players the importance of playing good competition early. It's vital that we see great pitching early to prepare ourselves for conference play and post season play. In my experience, playing a tough schedule builds character. How you respond to adversity will build chemistry on the field together! This is a special group. They have a lot of potential and we're ready to see where we match up," Bryan said.
The Greyhounds have 18 non-conference dates before opening up KJCCC play against Labette in March.