For the past several years, the Magnolia Lady Eagle Softball Team has had one foot in the door to get back into the state tournament. This year, they are ready to push the door open with new and older players ready to make it happen. The guy who believes that the girls can get it done is newly hired first-year Head Coach Dillon Mangino.
"We have a gem in pitcher Mallory Chapman and catcher Audrey Gibb," said Mangino. "Mallory can bring it and is just as valuable at the plate, while Audrey is a wall behind the plate and will keep runners from trying to steal a base."
Spelling Chapman will likely be senior Erinn Clegg and freshmen Kelsi Chapman and Tylar Seckman.
Katie Blatt will hold down first base, while Abbey Durig will hold down shortstop. At second and third, the Lady Eagles have a battle for the starting slot, with returning starter Jordan Grimm, as well as Davianne Croasmun and Kelsi Chapman to make it very hard for the coaching staff do decide who starts. At second, it appears that senior Casey Hilbert will be battling it out with Croasmun.
The outfield is set with three seniors holding down the starting jobs. In left is Ashley Moore, at right is Erinn Clegg and the fleet-footed Stephanie Mullett will go to centerfield. The outfield will also be more fundamentally sound and be more able to hit their cutoff person than they used to. The infield will have several subs who are still undetermined.
Besides these girls, the Lady Eagles have a massive supply of quality players including, senior Emily Clegg, sophomores Brittany Nice, Stephanie Wade, Cierra Truex and freshmen Tylar Seckman, Chelsey White, Hannah Fluharty, Taylor Cline, Kammy Clegg and Emily Shank.
"We have a lot of good student athletes that we can put anywhere and get good production," stated Mangino. "We will be more selective in our hitting this season, instead of taking a bad pitch. And we want to be very aggressive on the bases, but not overly aggressive where we would could be put out."
With the loss of Kennedy Slampak and Laken Cecil to graduation last year, Mangino will look to veteran MHS Assistant Coach Danny Anderson and former Lady Eagle standout and Division I Moorehead College graduate Kayla Brill to help bring the girls around.
If the weather cooperates, the Lady Eagles would have played Wheeling Central Tuesday, and will host Paden City March 28 at 5 p.m. on Hydro Field in New Martinsville.