Lady Orioles to rely on pitching, young talent
Fresh off a 17-5 season and a runner-up finish in the I-70 Conference Tournament, the Concordia High School Lady Orioles softball team finds itself in the rare and desirable position of being able to compete right now while getting a constant look at the program’s future stars.
While the Orioles will most likely only go as far as their elder studs’ bats take them — including seniors Justice Workman, Jacey Smith, Kylie Schnakenberg, Alexis Borgstadt and junior Kailey Ohrenberg — it is their young talent that will be most heavily relied upon to get them over the hump and compensate for talent gone from last season’s dynamic team.
After losing a group of standout Orioles — and a sizable chunk of their offense — to graduation (Moriah Brooks, Samantha Brackman, Abby Goolsby, and Mady Langkrahr), a number of young contributors will be tasked with important roles in the squad. Dynamic sophomore Lauren Fiene will take the field when she isn’t in the pitcher’s circle, but most of her time will likely be spent on the rubber as the team’s ace. Fellow sophomore Teagan Powers will likely see a sizable inning load over the course of the season, as well, although numerous other Orioles could also find themselves 43 feet from home over the course of the campaign.
Projected as a key cog in the O’s lineup this year, Fiene isn’t the only one being tasked with holding a large role offensively. Freshmen Cate Cooper and Hali Deatherage should factor in as key components of the offense when it’s ticking properly, while sophomore Caley Smith will be a nice bat to have at the bottom of the order.
From head coach Aimee Bredehoeft’s perspective, the work ethic put forward by the girls in the offseason was highly encouraging.
“The girls are working hard in practice,” the ninth-year head coach said. “I feel like they are more determined than I have seen them to make it further into the postseason.”
Despite talent lost from the squad, the current batch of Orioles should be competitive for the I-70 Conference championship and, paired with the collective attitude they’ve brought to the practice field and weight room, possibly a deep tournament run.