Cowgirls Softball optimistic about season

Mar. 24—The Abilene Cowgirls are optimistic about their upcoming season, and will be trying to improve on their 11-11 season from a year ago. They seemingly have a good chance at doing so, as thirteen-year Abilene head coach LouAna Taplin, along with assistant coaches Brian Roth, and Les Zoch return all but one position player from last years team.

Expected to lead the team will be three players whom have all signed college softball scholarships for next year in outfielder Hannah Walter, infielder Zoey Debenham, and catcher Maddie Murray. In all eight returning letter winners return which ultimately should help the Cowgirls.

One thing noticeable is the depth of teams varsity roster. "I feel we have one of the deepest teams we've had here since I've been coaching," said head coach LouAna Taplin. " It's a good problem to have. Girls are competing hard in practice and it's making them better."

As always pitching may be a concern as the team's pitching rotation from last year has changed. Junior Brooklyn Haaga will no doubt once again be the team's number one pitcher. Haaga is ready to begin the season despite coming off an offseason arm surgery, which ultimately may limit the innings pitched this season. Zoey Debenham who also pitched last year will not be pitching this year, due to her own arm injury. The Cowgirls other pitching options although talented, will all be underclassmen, who would all be pitching their first varsity games of their young careers.

A notable change from last year will be at the catcher position. All-NCKL senior catcher Maddie Murray returns for Abilene after playing club ball a year ago. Depth will once again be a benefit as last years catcher Jordan Signer has moved to shortstop for the Cowgirls.

"At this point we seem to have more of an offensive batting attack in our lineup" said Taplin. "We hope to build on our .311 team batting average from the 2023 season."

Abilene and the entire league will be trying to catch NCKL favorite Wamego for the league title. The Lady Red Raiders will be led by University of Tennessee softball commit Peyton Hardenberger at pitcher. Following them, there are several teams that contend with each other in the league including the Cowgirls.

Returning letter winners

Name, class, positions, notes/stats on players:

Hannah Walter, SR, CF, .360, .923 fielding

Zoey Debenham, SR, 3B, .288, .891 fielding

Adin Bruna, SR, U, .328 .906 fielding

Tailyn Needham, JR, 1B .353 .918 fielding

Brooklyn Haaga, JR, P/U .412 .948 fielding

Jordan Signer, JR, C .226 .957 fielding

KaiLee Crane, SO, LF .208 .840 fielding

Maddie Murray, SR, C (DNP)