Eagles expecting to fight ’til the end - Republic-Times | News

Eagles expecting to fight ’til the end

By on March 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Members of the 2018 Columbia High School softball team are, from left, front row, Lindsay Wibbenmeyer, Calli Wibbenmeyer, Kaeyln Rheinecker, Reese Schaefer, Chelsy Pena, Keeler Van Breusegen and Britney Edwards; middle row: Aryn Henke, Jordyn Cygan, Kylie Cleveland, Kelsie Ohlendorf, Mikaela Kossina and Emily Kohlenberger; and back row: Head Coach Rhonda Major, Justine Crowell, Jenna Pfeffer, Ava Khoury, Whitney Edwards, Amanda Koenigstein, Lexi Touchette and CHS Assistant Coach David Touchette. (Corey Saathoff photo)


“We fight!”

That’s the motto of the Columbia High School softball program, which has enjoyed a string of successful seasons under head coach Rhonda Major. 

Last year’s team went 28-5 and won a regional crown before falling at home in the sectional final.

Despite losing four key members of last year’s squad to graduation, the Eagles are set to reload rather than rebuild as they go to battle this spring with several returning players.

“I am excited to see what this great group of girls can achieve this year,” Major said. “We have a lot of returning talent from last year’s team who made it to the sectional, including our two key pitchers, Mikaela and Kaelyn.”

Mikaela Kossina went 14-2 with a 2.95 ERA in the pitching circle in 2017 and also hit 402 with 24 RBIs. Kaelyn Rheinecker went 13-3 with a 2.35 ERA in the pitching circle. Both are juniors.

A few seniors leading the way for the Eagles in 2018 are Chelsy Pena, Calli Wibbenmeyer, Keeler van Breusegen and twins Britney and Whitney Edwards.

Pena hit .418 with five home runs, 35 RBIs and 43 runs last season; Wibbenmeyer hit .516 with a .604 on base percentage, 35 RBIs and 42 runs; van Breusegen hit .326 and Britney Edwards hit .379 with 13 stolen bases. 

In addition to Kossina and Rheinecker, other juniors expected to shine for the Eagles are Lexi Touchette (.423, seven home runs, 47 RBIs in 2017), Lindsay Wibbenmeyer and Jordyn Cygan.

Aryn Henke, a sophomore, will also be looked on for an offensive spark this spring. She went 5-for-6 with a home run and five RBIs in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Piasa Southwestern to open the season.

Other returning players include Jenna Pfeffer and Amanda Koenigstein. 

Newcomers to the team are Reese Schaefer, Kylie Cleveland, Ava Khoury, Justine Crowell, Emily Kohlenberger and Kelsie Ohlendorf.

Columbia has won 216 games since 2010, with no less than 24 victories each season. 

There’s no reason to expect anything less from this year’s squad, which should compete once again for regional and sectional glory. 

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.