Lady Trojans softball to field another talented team this season


By Drew Terhall

ARCANUM — The defending WOAC champions are looking to pick up where they left off last season. The Arcanum softball program finished last season with a 21-7 record and an 11-0 WOAC record.

Head coach Mike Morris said this year’s team has a deep roster filled with talent. So far, they have been solid in practice and in scrimmages.

This team is shaping up to be Morris’ best team he has coached.

“We’ve been saying it the last few weeks. We think this might be our best team we’ve had since we have been here,” Morris said. “We got a good freshman class and everybody is stepping up. We played last night and we played really good last night against Tipp City.”

The Lady Trojans finished as OHSAA Division III Southwest District Runner-Ups after losing to Carlisle 13-7. Arcanum was up 6-2 entering the sixth inning before Carlisle scored five runs in the sixth and six runs in the seventh.

Morris said he hopes the returning players from that team will remember how that game went and come into this season wanting more.

“I hope they’re hungry with how the last game of the season ended. We were up on Carlisle, I think they were the number one team in the state, had them beat. Then, fell apart the last two innings,” Morris said.

The team did lose some impact seniors from last year’s team. WOAC Player of the Year Paige Burrell is gone along with All-WOAC First Teamer Kaitlyn Toy. Senior Mollie Ericksen is also gone and was an All-WOAC Second Team member.

Burrell led the team in batting average with .553 average. Her and Toy both tied for the team lead in RBI with 31 each.

But, the team is returning a lot of talent. This year’s senior class will feature an All-WOAC First Team member in Emilie Fout. She hit for an average of .467 with 28 RBI last season.

Morris said the offense is in good shape with Fout and junior Kenzie Byrne back. Byrne hit a school-record 10 home runs last season.

Defensively, they will have a senior pitching staff and another group of speedy outfielders. Senior Ashlyn Miller is returning after playing in right field last season.

Morris said his outfielders has the speed to limit extra base hits, like they did last season.

Seniors Hannah Kendig and Belle Harleman will rotate in and out on the mound. Morris said Kendig has more of a power arm while Harleman is a location pitcher.

He will go back and forth between the two, especially since one is a right hander and the other is a left hander.

Overall, this year’s senior class was impactful last season and figures to have another impactful season. Morris said he expects his seniors to provide leadership. The group as a whole is more of a lead by example group.

They will also get contributions from their under classmen as well. Morris said they will have some freshmen starting with more getting some playing time this season.

They are familiar with the program and how the coaching staff operates. Morris said the freshmen all play on the same summer team and are familiar with how the program plays. They used the same signs Arcanum uses.

The talent on the team will be test this season with a tough non-conference schedule along with an already tough WOAC schedule.

Arcanum opens the season against Talawanda with a trip to Miamisburg after. They also have teams like Springboro, Russia, Troy, Kenton Ridge and many other higher division teams.

Morris said with the schedule they have, their record might not reflect how good and talented they are. In the end, playing a tough schedule will help them prepare for a deep tournament run.

“Our goal is to get to state. That’s been our goal since we’ve been here. I don’t expect us to skip a beat as long as our pitching holds up. We got two really good pitchers back. With our schedule and the way it is, it’s pretty tough,” Morris said.

Morris and the Lady Trojans are excited to get this season rolling. Morris said everyone is on board and bought in.

Even with all of the hype, Morris is focused on his team improving each day.

“There’s a buzz going around the community. I had an umpire tell me she thinks this is the best team she’s seen me have, even when I was at Franklin Monroe. This is the most exciting team she’s seen us have. Hopefully, we can live up to it and continue to get better,” Morris said.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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