Sunday, May 28, 2017

After 1 loss season future looks bright

 "I've coached travel ball and high school going back to the 1990's and this is by far the best team I've ever had. A solid lineup from 1 to 9.  We went 17 and 0 before losing our first game, undefeated in the regular season. When you stop and think about it, that's pretty amazing!" said Coach Jim Eftink recently in looking back at the Oran Eagles' softball season.

The team finished 17-1 losing to Scott City in the district championship game for the second year in a row.  The Eagles had defeated Scott City earlier in the season and they also picked up a win over the Kennett, a team that ended up placing fourth in the state.

Eftink said, "The loss in districts still stings.  If you talked to any player on the team they would tell you how disappointing that was. Still, you can't define a season by one game or really only two innings in that game. This team set a "gold" standard for the future and has solidified a reputation around the state."

"We had some really standout performances. Sam[Welter] and Kaylee[Payne] had big years on the mound, at the plate and on defense. Leah [Cauble], Jessie [Long], Sydney [Kern] and Claire [Ramsey] really stepped up their game. It's unbelievable that they could improve on their stats from the year before. And then we had Maddie [Graviett], Kenzie [Graviett] and Katelyn [Streeter] who became impact players this year. Those three don't really get enough recognition for the contributions they made to our success," he continued.

Eftink stated, "I also need to give a shout out to our bench. There are several girls that would be starting on just about any other team out there. Whether it was Savannah [Elfrink] filling in on the infield or outfield, Taylor [Lowes] and Abbie [Madigan] getting pinch hits or Macy [Senciboy] coming in to steal a base--our bench is more than dependable.  We also had Malia [Legrand], who was hurt most of the year, along with Cammie [Cruz] and Paige [Bradley] who also give us some more options.  There are are some good players who grew in confidence as the season progressed."

Cauble, Payne and Kern were named All-Conference, All-District and All-Region.  Long and Welter were awarded All-Conference honors and All-District, while Ramsey and Streeter were honorable mentions All-Conference and All-District.  Eftink was named Scott-Mississippi Conference coach of the year and the Eagles were the conference champs.

Kern led the team with a .525 batting average, 31 runs and 24 stolen bases.  Cauble batted .518, had 2 home runs, scored 30 runs, drove in 26 and stole 13 bases.  Payne hit .500 with a homer and 8 triples, she also crossed the plate 30 times, had 26 rbi and swiped 13.

As a pitcher, Payne went 7-0 with an ERA of 0.72.

Long hit at a .481 clip with 2 home runs, and a team-high 34 runs driven in.

Welter went 10-1 with a 1.41 ERA in the circle and hit .313 with 2 home runs at the plate.

Ramsey batted .327 with a homer and 13 rbi.  Streeter hit .324.

Oran will lose no one to graduation.

Eftink concluded, "I've talked to several players since the end of the season and they're more than ready to get back at it. We return the whole team and have some freshmen coming in who I've been hearing about for a couple of years now.   I think the team feels we have some unfinished business to take care of and we're determined to get the job done. The future looks very bright for Oran Softball."

Very bright indeed.

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