Lady Mt’neer historic run continues with two milestones

Skylan Akins

The Lady Mt’neers crowd around Coach Matt Schubert as they celebrate the coach’s 200th win Saturday.

Freshman Hali Stokes slides in just under the tag in the Lady Mt’neers district win Saturday against Southwest.

Mt. Vernon softball has now won 24 games in a row, improving to 32-1 this season, destroying their previous best record of 26-7 last season and the 25-7 mark in their 2016 state championship year. They have averaged over 10 runs a game while surrendering only two for their best run differential in the program’s 10-year history. However, two milestones achieved in their district win Saturday is just the beginning on how dominant this program truly has been.
It didn’t take long for star senior pitcher Harley Daniels to reach her milestone moment as a strikeout against the game's opening batter gave her 600 in just three seasons for her illustrious career.
“This was exciting because coming into high school, I wasn’t a strikeout pitcher," Daniels said. "I liked to rely on my defense to make plays for me so it's just awesome that I have reached 600 for my career.”
Daniels said that the move to becoming a strikeout pitcher wasn’t intended but was a result of a little extra homework.
“It’s all about focusing on locations and finding weaknesses in the batters. It sounds simple, but not pitching it where they like it. When you locate it where they hit it as well, you can either get ground balls or blow it past them," she said.
Her success on the mound brings a certain kind of confidence to the team that can be felt in all phases of the game, junior second baseman Payge Evans said.
“When Harley is on the mound it instantly helps our defense. We stay calm and relaxed because we know she’s going to do her job and we have to have her back and it also takes some pressure off us at the plate knowing that we won’t have to put up a bunch of runs every game to win,” Evans said following the first round district win.

Schubert reaches 200 wins
The second milestone reached Saturday belonged to the head coach and founder of the Mt. Vernon softball program Matt Schubert, after the 17-2 win over Southwest gave him career win No. 200.
“It’s pretty amazing. It comes from having a lot of really good softball players over the years, and we have definitely had that, but I just really appreciate all of the girls’ hard work," Schubert said. "They come in and buy into the system and we just work and get better.”
In addition to fantastic careers from Schubert and Daniels, there is plenty of optimism that this team could end the season at the pinnacle.
To begin, Daniels will give you a chance against anyone while she is in the circle. On top of the 204 strikeouts up to this point this year, she is only allowing 1.58 runs per nine innings pitched and has only allowed 34 earned runs in 150 innings. She has only allowed more than three runs in a game five times all year, but with the electric offense that the Lady Mt’neers possess, you can afford to allow three runs.
The Lady Mt’neers have eight players with more than 50 at bats hitting over .375 this season and six have over 40 hits. What is most impressive about this team is their ability to hit for both contact and power. Of the 399 hits the Lady Mt’neers have accumulated over the season, 147 have been for extra bases—slugging .678 for the year. For reference, the leader at the college level is University of Oklahoma who has been historically dominant at the plate this year at .681 and second is Boise State at .596.
Evans leads the hitting with an absurd .618 as a junior. The left-handed slap hitter has been tremendous using her elite speed and ability to put the ball in play to rack up 17 infield hits and a team-high seven triples, driving in 36 runs as the lead-off hitter. She has also scored a team-high 54 runs, only striking out six times this year.
As dominant as Daniels has been in the circle, the same can be said about her ability at the plate. She is hitting .552 with 36 RBI's. She has also been solid in the extra base department with 17 doubles, four triples and a pair of home runs.
The sophomore duo of Cheyenne Bieber and Rae Downing have been tremendous and shows that the future is in good shape. Bieber is third on the team in SLG% at .851 and leads the team with 19 doubles and tied for the team lead with seven triples and a member of the coveted “Bomb Squad.” Her most valuable asset has been her ability to drive in runs, leading the team with 43 RBI's.
Downing on the other hand is tied for the team lead with four home runs while holding a .490 batting average. She is the team leader in SLG at .885, while driving in 36 runs and scoring 35 herself. Where she is most valuable is her ability behind the plate where as the primary catcher, she has only allowed four 'passed balls' all season.
Other top performers at the plate, Molly Daniels, Hali Stokes, Allie Schubert, Ally Burk, and Ava Bellis filled the other slots to the point that there is no true weak spot in the batting order.
All of this to say that the expectation for another district championship and even more is well within the realm of possibility. They are extremely battle tested winning 12 of 13 games against state ranked teams outscoring them 115-37 with four run-rules. They have been successful against primary competitors in Class 2 winning two of three against No. 2 Diamond and an 11-1 run rule victory against No. 3 West County.
With all of the success up to this point, in the postseason everyone starts at 0-0 and one bad outing can end your season. These Lady Mt’neers are poised for a run, but it continues with the rest of the district tournament which was slated for Monday against Pierce City and the championship game Tuesday night. A win on Tuesday would set up a quarterfinal matchup next Tuesday with the location and time to be determined.


Lawrence County Record

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


Please Login for Premium Content