Holcomb softball program looks to continue recent success after historic 2019 season

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Pictured are members of the 2021 Holcomb softball team.

The Holcomb Hornets softball program enters its spring campaign hoping to add to the historic success it enjoyed two years ago.

Holcomb has the luxury of returning seven starters off of a 2019 squad that compiled a record of 20-1 and finished runner-up to Malden in its district tournament.

“We are bringing back most of our starters and we’ve got some incoming freshmen that should be able to help us out,” Holcomb coach Matt Casper said. “We’ve got high expectations for this group like we’ve had for the last four years. We are ready to get on the field after missing last season and take advantage of the opportunity we have this season.”

Holcomb has five seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen out for softball.

Offense is once again expected to be a forte for a Holcomb squad that drove home at least 10 runs in 16 of its 21 games in 2019.

“We are pretty good from top to bottom,” Casper said. “We’ve got a lot of girls who are fundamentally sound at the plate and can square the ball up. Having a deep lineup is a great asset and hopefully we can find a way to put some runs on the board.”

Casper hopes to break in new pitchers as the season progresses. Senior Bailey Cupples, senior Macy Houart, and junior Alyssa Brown are top candidates to see time in the circle

“We missed an opportunity to break in some pitchers when our season was cancelled last spring,” Casper said. “This year the same girls that would have pitched last season will be out there. We will probably split the pitching between three players. I don’t see one of them logging a ton of innings. We are looking at splitting up the time on the rubber and hopefully between those three we will be successful.”

Casper said the positions his players start at is likely to fluctuate from game to game.

“Depending on who is pitching we will switch things around,” he said. “Another good thing about this team is we have girls who can play multiple positions and play them well. I’m still indecisive about who is going to play certain positions and that will likely change from game to game. I do expect Bailey Cupples to play shortstop when she is not pitching and Hannah Burk is likely to play first base all season. But other than that everyone else will be moving around.”

Two Holcomb talents have already signed to play college. Houart signed to play softball at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri, in November and Cupples signed to play softball at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff in December.

“They’ve been great three-sport athletes for us,” Casper said. “They are leaders on this team and we put a lot of weight on their shoulders.”

Holcomb hopes to repeat as champs in the Tri-County Conference Tournament. Holcomb beat Southland 12-2 in a semifinal and Cooter 18-6 in the title game of its conference tournament in 2019.

“As far as I know our conference is down to five teams this season,” Casper said. “Risco is going to combine with Gideon. We will also have Clarkton, Cooter, and North Pemiscot competing in the conference. It should be competitive. We definitely don’t want to take anything for granted but hopefully if we come out and swing the bats like we can we will have a positive outcome in conference games this season.”

Holcomb gets its first taste of competitive action Friday at 4 p.m. when it takes on Tuckerman (Ark.) in the Brookland Blast at Jonesboro.

“One of the things we wanted to do is try to beef our schedule up,” Casper said. “Getting in that Brookland Tournament will allow us to see some competition that we don’t typically see around here. Facing some adversity early in the season will hopefully prepare us more mentally for later in the season. Going 20-0 in the regular season like we did two years ago is great but I’d like for us to see a little bit of adversity so we will be able to handle that better in the postseason.”

Holcomb Softball Schedule

3/19-20Brookland Tourn.JonesboroTBA
3/22RectorHome4:30 p.m.
3/23PortagevilleAway4:30 p.m.
3/24ClarktonHome4:30 p.m.
3/26NeelyvilleHome4:30 p.m.
3/29KennettAway4:30 p.m.
3/30Twin RiversHome4:30 p.m.
4/5RiscoHome4:30 p.m.
4/6AdvanceAway4:30 p.m.
4/8CaruthersvilleAway4:30 p.m.
4/9South PemiscotAway4:30 p.m.
4/13BernieAway4:30 p.m.
4/15CooterHome4:30 p.m.
4/16North PemiscotHome4:30 p.m.
4/19MaldenAway4:30 p.m.
4/19SenathH’villeMalden5:30 p.m.
4/20GideonAway4:30 p.m.
4/22CampbellHome4:30 p.m.
4/26-28Tri-County Trn.TBATBA
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