Coach Shofestall Shares Lady Cats Softball Season Summary

(Photo courtesy of Identity Studio and Design) 2021 Clarion Area Lady Cats Softball – Front (L-R) Brenna Campbell and Ava Kiser. Middle (L-R) Makayla Kerle, Bri Forrest, Jayden Scheftic, Emily Troese. Back (L-R) Noel Anthony,  Jordan Best, Payton Simko, Kylee Beers,  MacKenzie Aaron.

The Clarion Area Bobcats Softball Team recently completed their 2021 season with a record of 12-10. The Team was made up of eleven players including: two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and two freshman.

The Team was excited to get the season started as they headed for Slippery Rock for the season opener. It had been 658 days since the Team had last played in a 5-4 loss to West Greene, in the PIAA state semi-finals. It was a tough loss in the opener as Slippery Rock scored a run in the bottom of the 7th inning for the 9-8 walk off win.

The season was an up and down affair for the Team, as we played very well at times and had some trying times as well.

As the month of May began, a playoff spot had not yet been secured. In the final week of the regular season, the Team won 4 out of their final 5 games to secure a spot in the District Nine Class-A playoffs as the #5 seed. In the playoffs, the Team had wins against Oswayo Valley and Elk County Catholic while losing to DuBois Central Catholic and Clarion-Limestone to end the season.

Through the course of the year the Team’s hitting became a strength, with the Lady Cats averaging 10.4 runs per game. Seven different players on the squad combined to hit a Bobcat record 24 home runs. The Team had a batting average of .374 and an On Base Percentage of .450.

Another strength of the Team was the continuing development and improvement of the pitching staff. Payton Simko, Kylee Beers, Noel Anthony and Emily Troese made up the staff. Each one of them worked hard at the craft of pitching and improved immensely.

As always, once the season ends it is tough as the realization sinks in that as a Team we had played our last game with our seniors. Our two seniors Ava Kiser and Brenna Campbell will be missed for sure. Throughout their careers, they represented their Team, Teammates,, families and school well as they proudly wore the Black and Orange one last time.

Ava had some clutch hits in her career, including finding that right center field gap in many big games. She always worked hard at her hitting and was always willing to make adjustments to her swing. She played both infield and outfield throughout her career.

Brenna batted in the number three spot in the order and could hit for power and average. She stung the ball all over the field and will be a tough bat to replace. She was a “voice” on the field and that voice was a voice of calm when things would get chaotic.

Our five juniors played a prominent role in 2019, when we made our run to the state quarter finals. After they missed their sophomore year, we were hoping for even better things from them in 2021… and we got it. Our five juniors were MaKenzie Aaron, Noel Anthony, Kylee Beers, Jordan Best and Payton Simko.

MaKenzie is a hard worker in practice and continually strives to make herself better. She played the outfield for us. She improved through the season and had two big hits in the season final for the Team.

Noel moved from right field to 2nd base this season and did a nice job. She was our leadoff hitter and led the Team in many hitting categories, including: average, on base percentage, hits, doubles and walks. Noel did all the things we look for in our leadoff hitter and did them well.

After an injury plagued freshman year, we were excited to get Kylee back on the field again and she certainly didn’t disappoint. She was solid on defense and won three games pitching for us. She was also a threat with the bat in her hands. Kylee hit for good power and led the Team in RBIs.

Jordan caught for us this year and did a tremendous job. She took over the pitch calling duties midway through the season and did well. She also excelled with the bat. Her eight home runs led the Team. Jordan led the Team in runs scored also.

Payton pitched and played first base. She led the Team with nine wins and she greatly improved with her command of the strike zone as the season wore on. Her bat was also a force, as she hit for power and average, from the clean-up spot in the batting order.

After missing their freshman seasons, our two sophomores McKayla Kerle and Brianna Forrest also made a big impact with our Team.

McKayla played all three outfield positions during the year as she made good progress in all areas of her game. But probably the highlight of the year for our Team, was when McKayla launched a 208 foot drive over the left field fence at Redbank igniting both the fans and her Teammates.

Brianna Forrest played center field for us. She had a strong arm and caught some big outs for the Team. She also gave us some offensive punch, at the number seven spot in the lineup, with power and her run scoring. Brianna also played 3rd base for us some and did a nice job.

Our two freshman this year, Jadyn Scheftic and Emily Troese also contributed to the Team in many ways.

Jadyn came to practice every night and was a hard worker. She listened and took to heart everything she was taught and used every bit of her energy to make herself a better player. Always willing to pitch in, she was always one of the last to leave practice, asking if she could help with anything else. Jadyn played outfield and her skills improved greatly as the season progressed.

Emily also played outfield and contributed with her glove and her bat. Her priority? Her communication skills got better and she made some key put outs in the outfield. Emily  also had some big hits for us and improved a lot throughout the season.

I also want to thank my coaching staff, Assistant Coach Matt Best, John Stroup, Tony Vega, Dave Estadt and Tori Vega for all of their dedication to the Players, myself and the Team. Also a big thanks to Melanie Best and the boosters for their help: especially for feeding the Team on the long road trips in the playoffs.

To the parents, families and friends,  thank you for your support of the Team. The long trip and amazing turnout we had at Oswayo Valley was a big boost for the Team and helped  the girls to a big win. 

A Big shout out to all of the people who helped us on field day on a chilly day in March to help get the field ready for the season. It was greatly appreciated.

And last but not least, thanks to all of the fans who supported us out there this year. It sure was good to be playing softball again.

(Congratulations on a fine season Lady Cats!!!!)

Thanks to Coach Shofestall for this season summary and to Identity Studio and Design for the Team photo.