The bar is set high for the Dupo High School softball team in 2016.
“We are looking forward to an exciting season this year,” Dupo head coach Greg Pennock said.
The Tigers return seven seniors and five juniors from last year’s squad that finished 21-8 and won a regional title. Dupo opened its 2016 season with an 11-0 win over Bunker Hill on Thursday.
Leading the way for the Tigers once again is junior Megan Brown. The SIUC recruit hit .570 with six home runs and 36 RBIs last season and smacked a homer in the season opener last week. Brown was unable to pitch last season as she recovered from an arm injury, but went 28-5 with a 1.12 ERA as a freshman.
“Megan should be able to get back in the circle this season,” Pennock said.
Also returning is senior catcher Rachael Donald, who recently signed to play for SEMO.
She hit .464 last season with 28 RBIs.
Senior Alyssa Strubberg will return in the outfield and provide speed on offense. She hit .426 with 20 stolen bases and 26 runs scored.
Junior Skylure Barlow will be back at shortstop. She hit .373 last season.
“She is as good as I’ve seen playing that position,” Pennock said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see her offensive numbers be better this year, too. I know she has been working hard over the last year to keep improving.”
Senior Jessica Stansch will toe the rubber again this year. Stansch won 19 games last year, including an extra innings victory in the regional championship game.
“Jess really took the team on her shoulders and gave it her all,” Pennock said.
Outfielder Amber Mobbs returns for her senior season after missing last season due to a hip injury. She has signed to play for Missouri Baptist.
“Amber will provide speed and a steady hand in right field for us,” Pennock said. “As a team, our offense was down a little last year and I think missing Amber from our lineup took its toll on us.”
Other key returning players are seniors Savannah Maldonado and Caitlyn Brizzi and juniors Taylor Esmon and Stormy Sellers.
“We have a very talented freshman class that is keeping the older girls on their toes,” Pennock added. “I look for Cameron Foster to have a chance to be an impact player. Kassidee Keys could also become a factor this year.”
The Tigers have built a solid program, so don’t be surprised to see them hoisting some shiny new hardware later this spring.