For the Great Bend High School softball team, this season is all about the team’s experience.
“We have nine returning seniors this year,” head coach Carrie Minton said. “We have a lot of seniors with varsity experience.”
Last season, the Lady Panthers, who lost their Class 5A regional game to Newton, went 13-8 overall, but that was without Minton at the helm. While it is her first season as head coach of the GBHS softball team, it is not her first season with the Lady Panthers.
Minton was an assistant coach for Great Bend before moving away. She also has experience as a head coach.
“I was the head coach at Ellinwood when their program was just starting up,” Minton said. “I know a lot of the kids. I have been able to see them play. I know the kids and what they do. I know that they are hard workers.
“Knowing their strengths and weaknesses before this season has really helped.”
Great Bend has a pair of seniors already committed to playing at the next level — Jordan Haney and Abby Morrison.
“Both Jordan and Abby have signed to play softball at the college level,” Minton said. “Jordan has signed to play for Kansas Wesleyan and Abby signed to play for Fort Hays State.”
Both Haney and Morrison were All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selections last season.
Three other seniors this season, Lexie Brack, Nicole Reiter and Emily Seiwert, made the honorable mention group last year.
Even with the experience, Minton said there are things that the Lady Panthers will need to improve.
“We need to improve our communication on the field,” Minton said. “Their fundamentals are good. We just have to be able to put together a complete game.
“We have a lot of strength. We have some really good hitters and great pitching.”
The Lady Panthers are still looking to fill one role on the field — catcher.
“We are still looking for someone to fill the role of catcher,” Minton said. “We have four seniors and a freshman who are playing catcher for us right now.”
Morrison, Seiwert, Brack, Cassidy Tutak and McKenna Mauler are the five perspective catchers.
“It really depends on who is pitching,” Minton said. “If Seiwert or Morrison is pitching, obviously they can’t be catching too.”
Minton said that Seiwert and Haney will be handling a majority of the pitching assignments.
Great Bend High School
2011 softball schedule
Today — At Larned, 4 p.m.
April 5 — At Salina Sacred Heart, 4:30 p.m.
April 7 — HOISINGTON, 4 p.m.
April 12 — LIBERAL, 4 p.m.
April 15 — At Scott City, 4 p.m.
April 19 — DODGE CITY, 4 p.m.
April 21 — At Hays, 4 p.m.
April 28 — At Garden City, 3 p.m.
May 2 — CHENEY, 4 p.m.
May 12 — HUTCH/McPHERSON, 2 p.m.
HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS
Samantha Dreiling, So.; Stephanie Morrison, So.; Lexie Brack, Sr.; Taylor Wondr, So.; Bonny Boultinghouse, So.; Karly Esfeld, So.; Nicole Reiter, Sr.; Tyler Brown, So.; Emily Seiwert, Sr.; Abby Morrision, Sr.; McKenna Mauler, Fr.; Jordan Haney, Sr.; Morgan Fletchall, Sr.; Kelsie Doll, Fr.; Cassidy Tutak, Sr.; Tori Lytle, So.; Kaitlee Spray, Sr.; Tanisha Unruh, Sr.; Brooke Henning, Fr.; Chandra Gray, Fr.; Tarynn Stueder, Fr.; Bailey Tracy, Fr.; Kaylie Doll, Fr.; Elizabeth Barber, Fr.