softball team is expecting big things this spring, but they’ll be
battling emotion and undoubtedly be playing with a collective “heavy
heart”. Softball has been around for nearly a quarter of a century at
Meadowbrook, but when the Lady Colts take the field Tuesday at St.
Clairsville, they’ll be without Bob Rasor as a coach for the first time
BYESVILLE — Coming off perhaps its best season ever, the Meadowbrook High softball team is expecting big things this spring, but they’ll be battling emotion and undoubtedly be playing with a collective “heavy heart”.
Softball has been around for nearly a quarter of a century at Meadowbrook, but when the Lady Colts take the field Tuesday at St. Clairsville, they’ll be without Bob Rasor as a coach for the first time ever.
Rasor, who won 274 games as head coach of the Lady Colts, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 69. His final year as coach was a memorable one which included a sparkling 21-5 record, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 3-A Tournament championship and the East Central Ohio League co-championship (MHS was 12-2 in ECOL action). Subsequently, Rasor was named OVAC and ECOL “Coach of the Year”.
With Rasor’s death, the Rolling Hills Board of Education appointed Bridget George as the interim head coach for the 2008 season, and she knows things won’t be the same for Meadowbrook softball.
“No one's going to replace Coach Rasor,” George stated. “We just have to work together and get through this season.”
The new Lady Colts’ coach says the team has been coping with things pretty well.
“They're very resilient,” she said. “We're getting to know each-other and they're adapting well. This program was built by Coach Rasor and we certainly want to keep the tradition going that he instilled in these girls.
“Coach is always going to be on our minds,” she added, “but when we hit the field for that hour and a half, we have to focus on what we have to do.”
George is a 1992 graduate of Cambridge High School where she was a four-year letterwinner and all-Ohio pitcher as a senior under the tutelage of her father, Dave Mitchell. She also played four years at Muskingum College under legendary coach Donna Newberry.
With a solid core of five returning letterwinners, George says there’s much to look forward to this spring.
“Our expectations haven't changed,” she stated. “We want to be at the top of the OVAC and ECOL and also get out of the sectional this year.
“Offensively, we've got some power,” George continued, “but we need to work on some techniques as far as laying down bunts. Defensively, our left side is pretty solid and we’re set in the outfield, but right now we're up in the air as far as what we’re going to do with the right side of the infield and catcher.”
It all starts in the pitcher’s circle for the Lady Colts with junior ace Kinsi Tellep. A two-year letterwinner, Tellep established herself among the district’s premier pitchers last spring by recording all 21 MHS victories. In 178 innings of work, she allowed just 11 earned runs for an impressive E.R.A. of 0.43 while strking out 327 batters and walking just 31. She registered two no-hitters. Tellep also was the team’s fourth-leading hitter a year ago with 26 hits in 85 at-bats for a .306 average along with a dozen RBI.
For her efforts, Tellep received a host of post-season accolades, including all-Ohio Division II second team; all-OVAC Class 3-A first team and “Player of the Year”; all-Eastern District D-II first team and all-ECOL first team.
“Obviously, our success is going to depend on her and her being healthy,” George said. “We do have some depth, but we'll rely on her a tremendous amount. She's got great control and she's working on a few more pitches.”
Junior third baseman Chelsey Roberts is the team’s other two-year letterwinner. A second team all-ECOL selection last year, Roberts hit .286 with 22 hits in 77 at-bats with 12 RBI to her credit.
Three sophomores who earned varsity letters as freshmen will be counted on heavily this season.
Alyssa Wright, who will likely move from second base to first base, was second on the team a year ago with a .360 average (31 hits in 86 at-bats) and she led the way with 14 RBI. Wright earned first team all-OVAC and all-ECOL and second team all-Eastern District accolades.
Kylee Williams will move into the catcher’s position this year after hitting .333 (26-of-78) with 13 RBI as a freshman. She gained second team all-OVAC, all-ECOL and all-Eastern District recognition.
Candace Neff returns as the shortstop following a frosh campaign where she hit .259 (21-of-81) with 12 RBI. Neff gained second team all-ECOL honors last spring.
Several other players will contribute to the Lady Colts’ success.
Outfielder-catcher Jennifer Lake is the team’s lone senior while junior squad members are outfielder-pitcher Rebekah Snyder, outfielder-second baseman Brittany Hogan and outfielder Kayla Diss.
The rest of the varsity squad features sophomore outfielder Kristen Watson and three freshmen — second baseman Kayla Francis, infielder-outfielder Ashley Clark and outfielder-catcher Courtney Shipman.
Diss, Francis and Watson should also see playing time with the junior varsity squad which also includes junior third baseman Mallory Haynes; three sophomores — first baseman-outfielder Audrey Beros, catcher Tanya Dewey, outfielder Laiken Mourer; and five more freshmen — outfielder Abbigail Bates, outfielder Caitlin Bates, first baseman Kylee Chaffin, catcher-outfielder Jessica Rossiter and outfielder Melissa Yantes.
The Lady Colts lost four players to graduation, headed by four-year letterwinner and leading hitter (.410) Kristen “Boo” Waers. She was first team all-Eastern District, all-ECOL and all-OVAC Class 3-A and was selected to participate in the OVAC and Eastern District all-star games.
Also departed are Natasha Steele, an ECOL honorable mention pick, along with Tiffany Reese, Leanna Beros and Meghan Fedorke.
George will be assisted by Bill Williams, with Brian Diss as the junior varsity coach.
“Coach Williams has helped me tremendously,” George offered. “We talk a lot about things Coach Rasor had been doing and he’s been helping me to learn the girls' personalities as well as their strengths and weaknesses.”