Over the next month, the Adrian Athletic Department will highlight and celebrate each of the spring sports it offers. The information and player spotlights will be provided by the program’s head coach. The first installment is the Maple Softball program and Coach Jason Skeels:
As a team, I was really excited for our 2020 season. We lost 5 seniors off of last year’s team but a lot of our position players were back. Kaitlyn Snead would’ve been behind the plate and Madeline Dempsey was our #1 pitcher. Around the infield we were going to be solid at 3rd base with Amaia McCurdy and Isabelle Jeffrey was making the move from outfield to shortstop. Playing second base would have been either Cheyanne Lofton, Hailey Rice, or Mariah McKinney. At first base we were working sophomore Alicia Garcia in with senior Kloe Knisel who is a player who can play about anywhere (also pitches, plays 2nd, and outfield). Freshman Katelyn Iott was another player like this. She was going to do some catching, play 3rd, 1st, and play some outfield for us. Our stalwart in the outfield was sophomore Autum Baughey. She would have likely been our starting centerfielder and played there most of the year. Others that would have contributed in the outfield were Stevie Ostrander, Jessica Scott, Kloe Knisel, Katelyn Iott, Kaitlyn Snead, Madeline Dempsey, Hailey Rice, and Mariah McKinney. Though the SEC is a tough softball conference, I felt that we had a shot to be a middle of the road team this year behind Madeline’s pitching and could probably surprise some teams with our ability to play good defense and Madeline’s ability to consistently throw strikes.
Stevie Ostrander was a young lady who came out this year after not playing last year. She was improving every day and was a tremendous teammate. I’m sad she won’t get to experience the varsity team in her senior year.
Kloe Knisel was another senior who pitched for us, played second, and outfield and was a four year softball player. She was going to be an integral part of our success this year on the mound and at a few different positions on the field. Her commitment to improve this off season was awesome and I’m sad we won’t get to see her growth in action.
Kaitlyn Snead was our most improved player last year and would have been our starting catcher, likely catching almost every game for us. She was a great player last year and was only going to get better this year. She has a powerful bat and is a coach on the field. Her positive attitude and tremendous work ethic will really be missed.
Our last senior is Madeline Dempsey who was a four year varsity player. She was a pitcher and outfielder for her four years. She was our leader, ace pitcher, and a role mode to all of our younger players. Madeline’s fun loving personality, her competitive drive on the mound, and her ability to put the ball in play on a consistent basis will be missed by me and many others at AHS.
I feel for all seniors across the state and I know this was a necessary decision but something that was tough to stomach as a coach. On March 13, I told our team that I believed we wouldn’t be playing this season with all that was taking place, but I held out hope. In the first few days, the girls sent videos of them practicing together on their own, made comical TikToks, and even spent time to help others who were in need during this time. Though the 2020 season was lost our four seniors are all going to move on to great things in life, some going to college, others going to work, but I’m positive they left a lasting impact on me, AHS, and the Maple softball program.