Head coach Dave Kehr and the Wildkats softball team will be looking to earn another trip to the state tournament this year as their season gets underway in Polson this weekend.
The Kats will have all but two players back from last year’s squad, which finished the regular season 11-11 before dropping a pair at the state tournament in Frenchtown.
While snowy conditions have kept the Kats in the gym during practices so far, Kehr says the fields should be ready to go in Polson Saturday as the Kats take on Belgrade at 1 p.m. and Butte Central at 5 p.m.
“I talked to their athletic director today and he said everything is still on, so we will be ready to play,” Kehr said Monday. “It will just be nice to see some live pitching and be able to hit a real ball. I just want to get a look at who can do what for us this year. This weekend will be a good chance for us to see where we are at.”
The Kats will field an experienced squad this year, with six seniors to provide veteran leadership.
Senior Savvy Ellis will once again be the main starting pitcher for the Kats this year as she throws to senior catcher Raychel Hoerner. Kehr said he also has some young catchers coming in this season, so Hoerner could see some action in the outfield this year.
Senior Kaylee Ashe will once again be roaming center field for the Kats while a trio of seniors will anchor the infield in Trista Cowan at shortstop, Chloe Kienas at second base and Ryley Kehr at first.
“We may have a few kids switching positions, but we should be pretty much the same, defensively,” Dave Kehr said. “I will have to figure out where to use some of our new, younger players.”
As for his expectations for this year, coach Kehr said the objective is still the same.
“We have pretty much the same goals this year as we did last year. We want to get back to the state tournament, but this is a tough conference,” he said. “We want to get back to the state tournament and we will see what happens.”