Improved Eagles ready to fly

By Chris Miles -

A year of struggling through growing pains should pay off this spring for the Madison-Plains High School softball team.

The Golden Eagles are a year older, a year wiser and coach Kevin Stockham hopes a year better.

“We played a lot of young kids last year,” the coach said. “There were many ups and downs that comes with that. Despite that the kids worked really hard and most were involved in some kind of travel ball as well as hitting leagues and weightlifting in the off-season. We have seen a lot of improvement both physically and mentally from last year.”

Madison-Plains High School will be lead this season by its only senior, centerfielder Kennedy Clifton. She’s been the starter the last three years and recently signed to play softball at Wilmington College.

“She is an exceptional young lady and tremendous athlete who just last week won a state title in weightlifting,” Stockham said. “Several of our players are on Coach (Mike) Siders weightlifting (club). We see nothing but positive benefits from that including the three juniors who have started since their freshmen year. Rachel Guiette (LF), Kloee Whitaker (C/SS) and Courtney Cress (1st).

“We think all three of those kids are ready to have breakout seasons,” the coach said.

The team also returns three sophomores who started every game last year, and have made strides during the off-season. They are Macy Burchett (P), Maddie Wood (RF/P) and Addi Tesi (C/SS). Also on the roster are juniors Ciera Thompson (IF) and Whitney Stires (OF), experienced players who can fill a variety of positions.”

Burchett will see most of the time inside the pitching circle, she will be backed up by Wood and Thompson.

“Macy spent most of last year in the circle and will again this season,” Stockham said. “She has put a lot of work in during the off-season and has improved on everything she does.”

The Golden Eagles will once again compete in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division, where they finished fourth a year ago. The competition will remain strong, but Madison-Plains High School seems better equipped to stay competitive.

“Southeastern is the standard bearer in the South Division,” the coach said. “Greeneview and newcomer Greenon should be very good. The North Division, with the addition of Northeastern and West Jefferson will be loaded. I expect Triad and West Liberty to fight that out.

“We finished fourth in the South Division last year with a very young team. We are still young, but, we have a lot of players who have played a lot of softball since last year and hope to work our way back into the mix.”

The team will feature a handful of new faces, a couple of which are slated to start from the beginning. Jordyn McPherson (3rd) and Cidny Long (2nd) would be in the starting lineup. The coach said they may be freshmen but they come in with a wealth of travel ball experience.

Other freshmen on the roster are Taylor Hardin (OF) and Megan Robinson (1st), as well as sophomore Alisha Higbee.

By Chris Miles

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.