Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Skylan Akins

Senior Josey McChesney connects with a pitch that would land on the other side of the fence against Strafford, Monday. She is tied for the team lead in home runs with four. (Photo by Skylan Akins)

Mix of underclassmen, seniors lead Lady Mt’neers to fantastic year
Youth and inexperience has been a common theme for the Lady Mt’neers across sports all year. It has been no different on the softball Diamond. The majority of the roster has had less than two seasons of varsity experience under their belt thanks to the Covid Cancelled 2020 campaign. After losing two seniors from a 18-6 squad that was just a few runs away from taking a district championship.
The starting lineup for the 2022 edition to the diamond Lady Mt’neers features three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and three freshman but production has been just as abundant from the underclassmen as we have seen from the seniors.
“The underclassmen have been a lot of fun this year.” Senior Josey McChesney said. She continued. “they just play. They aren’t overthinking the game. I think some of the youth plays into that. When you are a junior and a senior, the expectations come but as freshman and sophomores, you’re just out there to play and coach Schubert is letting the freshmen just play and prove themselves and it’s been good for them.”
Those freshman includes right fielder and number two pitcher Cheyenne Bieber, third baseman Molly Daniels and catcher Rae Downing.
Bieber has been a fantastic for the Lady Mt’neers in the circle and at the plate. She is hitting over the .420 mark showing excellent power sitting at third on the team with three home runs and leading the team with 37 RBIs. She has also provided a solid #2 option in the circle averaging nearly a strikeout per inning.
“She definitely doesn’t play like a freshman. She is aggressive which we like and tell them to be that way and she is just an extremely talented athlete. Nothing is too big for her playing varsity basketball and volleyball so I think playing those other sports helped her adjust quickly here.” Coach Matt Schubert said.
Rae Downing has been the freshman catcher for the Lady Mt’neers and have been fantastic behind the plate. She has had only nine passed balls in 174 innings caught and has completely shut down the opposition’s movement on the basepaths catching 10 runner stealing. She has also hit over .400 so far this season and is tied for the team lead with four home runs after two bombs against Strafford on Saturday.
Sophomore Payge Evans has become one of the mainstays at the top of the lineup for the Lady Mt’neers for the last two years and she is having another fantastic season hitting over .450 as a left handed slap hitter. Her speed may be her best attribute leading to a team high 19 stolen bases.
For as much production as these three young players have provided, The upperclassmen has been just as productive with the top two performers at the plate in senior Josey McChesney and junior Harley Daniels.
McChesney has the unique combination of speed and power and has led the Lady Mt’neers in most offensive categories including a ridiculous .811 slugging percentage and tying Downing with four home runs for the year. She flies around the bases with 7 triples and 14 stolen bases.
“She can obviously hit the long ball but she’s one that can spray it around the field. She homered tonight and then later on doubled down the line. She can take it to the opposite field, she can pull it and she can also run so she is a threat to beat out a ground ball. She is going to compete and make it tough on the defense.” Coach Schubert said following Monday’s win at Strafford.
Josey has also been instrumental in helping some of the younger players find their footing at the varsity level.
“I love playing with these girls. They have helped me from day one. I came into the year as an infielder and Josey made the transition to the outfield. She has helped me so much and its amazing because if she weren’t able to help me, I don’t know what I would do.” Freshman Cheyenne Bieber said of McChesney.
Finally, Harley Daniels has been the workhorse in the circle for the Lady Mt’neers eating up 128 innings of 175 innings the Lady Mt’neers have played. She has had a ton of success as well sitting at 20-2 with an All-State caliber 1.20 ERA with 171 strikeouts. She has also been dominating in the batter’s box leading the team with a .475 batting average knocking two out of the park. The biggest improvement from her sophomore year to her junior year has been her ability to put the bat on the ball leading the team with fewest strikeouts with only six for the season.
“I have learned a lot of accountability from Harley and the other upperclassmen. We know how to have a good time and we have a lot of chemistry but they also make sure we are getting better. They will help us when we need help and they will point out some of our mistakes and help us correct it which I really appreciate.” Freshman Rae Downing said.
Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” and that is a good motto for this particular squad. They have had the talent to win for the last two years but with this team’s knack of picking each other up and helping the younger players, a district championship is on the minds of the Lady Mt’neers


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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