For Maryville softball, the 2019-20 season has been one that had many in the community and school believing that there will be several rough years of softball to follow this one.
With numerous seniors from the class of 2019 leaving to play at the collegiate level, and many underclassmen readying to fill the voided positions, the 2019-20 season was deemed as a rebuilding year for the program.
For the ’Hounds, second base and shortstop — traditionally important roles in the infield — have been filled by new faces. Whether that might be a freshman or someone with a lack of experience, the positions are young. To make the transition to the varsity level less overwhelming, coach Chandra DeMott reverted her team to the basics.
“What we’re focusing on is getting our defense honed in and tightening up and trying to eliminate as many errors as possible,” Demott said. “A lot of times in softball, it really comes down to the team that makes the fewest errors usually comes out on top.”
With postseason play right around the corner for the ’Hounds, being zoned in on every aspect of the game is the key factor in pushing forward in those games.
Towards the beginning of the season, coming across a win was somewhat of a difficult task for the Spoofhounds as opposed to where they are now. In some ways, the younger players that struggled earlier in the season have proven to be the pillars to the foundation for years to come.
“A bunch of our younger players, you can tell that they want to be here and they want to learn,” junior catcher Briley Watkins said. “Being in games and being behind the plate, and you can see the whole field, it’s great to see them understand what they're doing and come together as a team.”
As the ’Hounds prepare for their first postseason matchup against Bishop LeBlond Oct. 16, their ability to compare opponents and prepare for their games is difficult. A majority of the regular season games Maryville plays are against MSHSAA Class 3 schools.
This season's scheduling ultimately means that the Spoofhounds, a Class 2 program, haven't been able to scout out their future opponents and prepare themselves for who they are about to play.
Maryville heads into districts after only playing two of the four potential opponents for districts during the regular season. Mid-Buchanan (10-11), East-Buchanan (16-3), Bishop LeBlond (0-11) and West Platte (11-11) are among the competition that the Spoofhounds would have to outlast to be crowned as District Champions.
“That will be interesting for us but on the flip side playing some of those Class 3 schools really helps us out and gets us to where we need to be falling into postseason,” DeMott said.