Chris Neff Takes Over for Paden City Softball
With 17 girls out for softball, the Wildcats’ first-year coach Chris Neff will only have three upperclassmen, along with the sophomores and freshmen on this year’s team.
Gone are graduates from the third-straight OVAC Class-A runner-up squad, including Hannah Stanley, Kayla Hizer, Amber Neff, Megan Pierce, Tori Anderson and Graeson Baker. Taylor Cosper is the only returning senior back in this year’s team.
“We’ve still got some talent on this team and I think they are going to surprise some people this season” Neff said.
Cosper, first team All-Valley; Aubrey Neff, Special-Mention, and Madeline Cox, Special Mention, will be the team leaders this season. Cosper and Neff were two of the team’s top pitchers last season, while Cox, a mainstay at first base, will take her talents behind the plate at catcher.
Each girl was a good hitter. Cosper was solid in the field and at shortstop when she wasn’t throwing from the mound.
Sophomore Katrina Heasley, along with freshmen Hannah Loy and Paige Leonard, will also throw some from the circle.
The starting infield looks like Cosper at short-stop, Neff at third, Heasley at second and freshman Jenna Ferrebee at first, with Cox behind the plate. Loy, Leonard, Hope Cooper, Delaney Lantz, and Hanna Hall will fill in when needed.
In the outfield, Shelby Gatian, Ashlyn Moses, Shelby Schultheis, Bre Henthorn, Alli Suter and Brannon Bailey will all be competing for playing time.
“My goal for this season is simple; keep the program moving in the right direction, develop the young talent and deliver a positive experience for the girls,” Neff said. “The team’s goal is qualify for the OVAC and win sectionals.”
Helping Neff with the team is assistant coach Heather Carmichael.