Wellston/Nelsonville-York softball (copy)

Wellston’s Jenna Johnston returns to the diamond after winning TVC Offensive MVP two season ago for the Golden Rockets.

WELLSTON — Although softball hasn’t been played in almost two years, Wellston is still the defending TVC champion.

However, that was with a much more experienced team featuring mainly juniors and seniors at the time.

And now, the Golden Rockets only have a couple girls on this year’s team that actually played in that 2019 season. But head coach Jim Hall remains optimistic of his group.

“We had a really good group of freshman come in to match with a solid group of juniors who have never played varsity, so we’ll struggle with inexperience much like other teams will,” Hall said. “But at the same point, we’re a really athletic group and they cover the field very well so once they gain that game experience, we’ll be in a good position.”

Fortunately, one of those girls who played two years ago is standout junior Jenna Johnston, who was the TVC Offensive MVP during that championship season by batting .494 and leading the team in hits, doubles, runs scored and RBIs.

The other returning starter is senior Makenna Kilgour, who batted .395 and drove in 15 runs. That duo will be tasked with leading a young team filled with talent.

“Between those two players in the infield, we’re confident defensively that nothing will get by them because they’re incredibly sound,” Hall said. “Jenna has come back stronger and faster from injury, and both girls can hit the ball really well so we’ll ask a lot out of them.”

Wellston had two outstanding pitchers during that 21-win season, now it has double the pitching as Maddie Potts, Kamryn Karr, Chloie Burgett and Faith Stevens all could see action in the circle.

“There’s a lot of variety with our pitching and every girls brings something different to the table,” Hall said. “They all have different styles and different speeds, so it’ll be difficult to decide who pitches game to game but it’s a good problem to have.”

Joining them in the infield will be a mixture of players between Lauren Cheatem, Neveah Ousley, Sadie Henry, Lexie Riegel and Alyssa Peterson.

In the outfield, between Karr, Macie Lambert, Jasmyne Mohler and Emma Ingalls, Hall showered them group with praise.

“This is probably the best outfield I’ve ever had,” Hall said. “There’s so much speed, they cover a lot of group and quite frankly, I don’t think a ball hit in the air will touch the grass. They’re really good.”

Despite a wealth of youth and inexperience, Wellston has typically had a good softball tradition.

And with the wave of new talent ready to make their mark on the program, the sky is the limit this season.

“Not playing, practicing or having any summer ball last season hurt our development a little, but I like how we’ve come along so far,” Hall said. “There still areas that need work, but once gets some games under us and hit the ball consistently, we’ll be good. In the end, our goal remains the same, which is to win the TVC. After that, we’ll see how far we can go.”

Wellston begins its season on Saturday at home against Huntington.

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