If softball riches are to be found in numbers, then count Marion High softball coach Jennifer Felvus among the rich.
Twenty-seven players have been on the practice field vying for varsity playing time, with experience coming to the fore as competition nears.
“My starting lineup is probably an older team, made up of mostly juniors and seniors,” Felvus said. “In all my years here, I’ve usually had freshman starters, but this is how it’s shaped up this year.”
Shelby Felvus got a workout on the mound last season, throwing 103 innings, and she’ll be at it again, pitching to a familiar target, catcher Paige May. The juniors have developed an intuitive working relationship, Jennifer Felvus said.
“Their relationship has grown a lot,” she said. “They weren’t real close until they started working together as pitcher and catcher. The two can literally communicate without speaking. They have really bonded in a way that they can help each other out.”
A mostly senior-laden infield backs up the pair, starting with Kayla Kroupa at first base.
“This is her third year at first,” Felvus said. “She’s got a great glove, and she makes our infielders look great, even when they’re a little off.”
Sophomore Kourtney Hansen at second base teams with senior Bailey Robson at short to cover the middle of the infield.
“Kourtney is quick and just has good game sense,” Felvus said. “Bailey has a lot of game knowledge and she has a great glove. They have experience working together in volleyball and basketball. They make a nice duo.”
Senior Reann Hamm at third base gives the Warriors more than just solid fielding.
“She can read batters like no player I’ve ever seen,” Felvus said. “She’s quick to the bunt, she has good hands, and there’s a confidence that the whole team has in her that really anchors our field. She’s as much of my battery as my pitcher and catcher because she communicates with them about things she sees about batters. She adds to their performance by the knowledge she has.”
Another senior, Kirsten Hansen, will anchor the outfield in center, flanked by junior Taylor May in left and sophomore Allie Molleker in right.
The starting lineup is set, but good depth will provide talented players with opportunities to crack into it.
“While you’re competing together and there’s great unity, there’s also competition for spots,” Felvus said. “People will be pushing that decision every game. I have people that can feed in at a moment’s notice, and I don’t think you would see a hiccup.”
The Warriors’ offense has power potential, but this year’s team is faster than last, which should provide opportunities to manufacture runs.
“It’s the way I like to play ball, so it’s going to be exciting,” Felvus said. “People should keep their eyes on this team. They’re going to do some pretty incredible things. This is going to be one of the best shows on dirt.”