2019-2020 Holton Softball
The Holton Lady Wildcat softball team was coming off a third place finish at the 2019 Kansas Class 3A State Softball Tournament.
The season before that, in 2018, the Lady Wildcats placed fourth at the Class 4A-DII State Softball Tournament.
This year, the Lady Wildcats were set to compete in Class 4A - their third different class in three years - and they had every starting player returning except their first baseman. And they had depth.
On paper, it looked like the Lady Wildcats had a good shot to make it back to the state tournament for a third straight season with their eyes on the state title.
Coach John Deitrich was entering his 13th season as head coach of the HHS girls team. Two assistant coaches - Carlene McManigal and Colby (Wilson) Stoller both played for the Lady Wildcats on state tournament teams.
To say COVID-19 (coronavirus) stopped the Lady Wildcat softball team from achieving some great successes would be an understatement.
The Lady Cats were 20-3 overall last season and were back-to-back Big Seven League champs and regional champs.
Gracie Gallagher, as a freshman, went 12-3 pitching for HHS last season. Jewel Lutz was 7-0 pitching for HHS as a junior. Olivia Summers went 1-0 pitching for HHS as a freshman. Justine Raye was expected to pitch for the Lady Wildcats this season, too.
The Lady Wildcats were also returning the following outstanding veteran players:
*Grace Utz, a two-year starting catcher, was preparing for her junior season. Last season, she batted .470 with three home runs. She was a Big Seven League honorable mention catcher and a Class 3A All-State honorable mention catcher.
*Ally Beard, another two-year starter at second base, was preparing for her junior season. She batted .382 last season.
*Jewel Lutz, a three-year starter as a pitcher and outfielder, was preparing for her senior season. She was a Big Seven League honorable mention All-League pick as a outfielder last season. She batted .486 and hit five home runs last season.
*Bailey Flewelling, a two-year starter at shortstop, was preparing for her senior season. She batted .466 last season and hit eight home runs. She was a Big Seven League honorable mention All League pick at shortstop and was a Class 3A All State second team outfielder pick last season.
*Kinleigh Rhodd, a three-year starter at third base, was preparing for her senior season. She batted .384 last season and hit one home run.
*Savy Booth, a three-year starter in the outfield, was preparing for her senior season. Last season, she batted .400.
*Gallagher played the outfield when she was not pitching last year and batted .471 with one home run. She was a Big Seven League first team All-League pitcher last season and a Class 3A second team All-State pick at pitcher.
*Addie Degenhardt, a two-year starter in the outfield, was preparing for her senior season. Last year, she batted .429.
*Paige Crouch, a two-year starter at designated hitter and utility player, was preparing for her senior season. Last year, she batted .346.
Competing for the first base position this season were Crouch, sophomores Olivia Summers and Staci Bond and freshmen Brooke Flewelling and Timber Wilson.
Bailey Flewelling plans to continue playing softball at Emporia State University next season.