Lady Dogs look to improve in 2023

There was some tough sledding for the Batesville Lady Bulldogs and first-year coach Gene Cooney on the diamond last spring – the path may remain rocky in 2023 with a cast of just one senior and five upperclassmen in all.

Cooney’s young squad hopes to improve upon a 3-20 season (0-14 in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference) that ended with a 16-1 loss to South Dearborn in the postseason.

The primary challenge will be in the center of the infield as there’s inexperience at the pitcher’s position. Junior co-captain Renee Lecher and Kennedy Westrick, senior co-captain, have some varsity innings under their belt … but not a ton. The other hurler on the roster is freshman Libby Stephens.

Among returning players, Lecher (HR, 13 RBI) was second only to the junior starting shortstop Calli Fletcher (7 extra base hits, 9 RBI) in batting average – .333 and .327. When not in the circle, Lecher will be manning the hot corner or across the way at first base. Freshman Lexiyne Harris appears to have second base sewn up while competition at first includes Stephens and junior Claire Saner and at third with freshmen Kalli Obermeyer and Cora Roth. Catchers’ corps is made up of Roth, Harris and junior Natasha Fowler.

A bevy of youngsters, including Roth and Obermeyer, are trying to carve themselves an outfield role. Saner and Fowler are the elder statesmen among the group that consists of sophomores Marlee Obermeyer, Kailey Schaeffer and Georgia Voegele and freshmen Iris Kopp, Kelli Livers, Addy Froehling, Madi Clift and Ava Hilbert.

Assisting Cooney this season are Cory Fletcher and Rick Caswell.

The new campaign will get underway tonight at home against the South Ripley Raiders. The Bulldogs visit Rising Sun Saturday, 11 a.m. First conference game is Monday as the Rushville Lady Lions come to town. The sectional draw is scheduled for Sunday, April 30, with the tournament contested between May 22-27.

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