Leavenworth softball coach Callie Farrell described the 2019 season as a roller coaster at times for the Pioneers.
“But I am really proud of the girls,” Farrell said. “And the effort they put in. We achieved nine wins on the season, which a softball program here at Leavenworth hasn’t achieved in a long time.”
The Pioneers’ season ended May 14 in an 11-1 loss to Olathe Northwest in the first round of regionals to finish the year 9-12.
Farrell said the 6-3 win over Shawnee Mission Northwest in the Sunflower League Festival was her favorite memory.
“The biggest thing that sticks out is the big win over Shawnee Mission Northwest,” she said. “The girls played the best that I have ever seen and fought so hard to come out on top. That will go down as one of my favorite memories of the year.”
The win was also the best team performance of the year, according to the head coach.
The coach said there were a lot of good individual performances this year. She pointed out Kaylee McLain and Gwyn Gebert both stepped up as freshmen and “owned their positions.” Farrell also pointed out Alyssa Seichepine would lead off the team on offense and could hold her own at shortstop. McKenzie Brown lowered her ERA to 4.50, which the coach said was a career best. The coach also said Leah Seichepine would also come up clutch when the Pioneers needed it.
“We had some really good players and athletes this year that had a lot of great individual bests,” Farrell said. “I think they peaked this year.”
Farrell said the team’s MVP this year was Leah Seichepine. The coach said the senior was the team leader in batting average and steals this year. Farrell also said the senior had a “solid glove” for the Pioneers in the outfield and was a leader off the field. Leah Seichepine was named first-team all-conference for the United Kansas Conference, which Farrell said was a huge nod by the rest of the UKC.
For most improved, Farrell said it was sophomore Mikayla Garrison.
“She came in the Bishop Ward game due to an illness by the starting third basemen,” Farrell said. “She played well and really turned her bat into a hot bat. She hit .091 last year and ended this year with a batting average of .296. She improved big time offensively and defensively.”
With the season ended, the Pioneers will say goodbye to the graduating seniors. Farrell said the seniors will be missed dearly.
“The seniors have been real competitors since the time they showed up four years ago,” Farrell said. “They have been the backbone of the program and really helped turn it around. They will be missed dearly next year.”
Brown, Leah and Alyssa Seichepine were all starters and letter winners for their four years. The coach said their gloves and bats will be missed. The team will also miss the leadership of Abby Kowalewski and Shayla Miller on and off the field.
The senior class went to the Turner Tournament championship all four years with the team winning it once. Farrell said the class went from winning three games as freshmen to nine in their senior year.
Moving forward, the Pioneers will rely on McLain, Garrison, Gebert, Baylee Crotzer and Bre Brown.
There will also be JV players on the move after getting some playing time on varsity this season.
Despite losing the strong leadership of the seniors, Farrell expects the team to be fine moving forward.
“I think they will be just fine,” she said. “They are losing a pretty solid senior class however. I think the returners learned a lot this year that I think will contribute to next year. They will have some good senior leadership so I am excited to see what they can do.”