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Record-setting SHS softball season spurred on by four seniors

All the hype. All the runs scored. All the home runs.

 

Shelbyville High School’s softball season was only going to end one of two ways – with a great celebration or resounding disappointment at an opportunity lost.

 

The most powerful Golden Bears squad in history was left reeling after a 4-2 sectional-opening loss to Columbus North on May 25.

 

A record-breaking season came to an end that night at Shelbyville High School. And the careers of four well-respected seniors were closed.

 

“I can’t say enough about the four seniors we had, the leadership qualities that they had,” said Shelbyville head coach Mark Hensley well after the final out was secured by the Bull Dogs.

 

Katie Mathies (photo, second from left) hit .505 in her final season at Shelbyville. The corner infielder had career highs in doubles (15), triples (3), home runs (10) and runs batted in (42).

 

Addisenn Weaver (photo, far right), a catcher and third baseman, closed her career with a .462 batting average and career highs in doubles (11) and home runs (10) while driving in 36 runs.

 

The hard-hitting duo will continue their playing careers at the collegiate level next season – Mathies at DePauw University and Weaver at Valparaiso University.

 

Madison Campton (photo, far left) and Kaylie Phelps (photo, second from right) have anchored Shelbyville’s outfield since they arrived as freshmen.

 

Campton hit .269 this season with three doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBIs. For her career, she hit .290 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs.

 

Phelps batted .207 this year with two doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.

 

Campton will attend Ivy Tech this fall while Phelps is headed to DePauw.

 

“We’ve been looking at Addi’s leadership since she was a freshman. She’s been looked at like a captain since she was 14 years old,” said Hensley. “She is going to be a tough one to replace.

 

“Campton and Phelps are two-thirds of the outfield and (Mathies) is an anchor post at either first or third that has played out of her mind for four years. I am not sure how we will replace those four seniors. I am sure we will do what we can but they really are irreplaceable.”

 

Before looking ahead at the Golden Bears in 2022, the program record board needs updated.

 

The team set four records – runs scored (276 topped 246 in 2018), home runs (67 nearly doubled 36 in 2018), slugging percentage (.730 bested .577 set in 2017) and wins (24 is the new mark eclipsing 23 in 2015).

 

In just her second season in a Golden Bears uniform (the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), junior Karissa Hamilton collected five program records.

 

Hamilton hit a team-leading .604, not enough to eclipse Hannah File’s record of .612 in 2017, but did set records for home runs in a game (3), home runs in a season (22), on-base percentage (.667), slugging percentage (1.494), and runs scored (57).

 

Hamilton’s 29 career home runs also is the new benchmark at Shelbyville.

 

Freshman pitcher Cheyenne Eads (10-4, 2.91 earned run average) tied the program record for strikeouts in a game with 16 against Mt. Vernon on May 4. Rylie Bringle also had 16 strikeouts in a 2009 game.

 

Hensley will have Hamilton for one more season before she heads south to the University of Kentucky and the entire pitching staff returns in 2022.

 

Along with Eads, rising junior Hailey Pogue (9-0, 2.50 ERA) and rising senior and Franklin College commit Brooke Lipperd (4-1, 2.83) will need to improve as the offense will not likely average 9.5 runs per game next season.

 

Hamilton, who split catching duties with Weaver, will likely assume a greater role behind the plate in her final year.

 

Kylee Edwards hit .442 as a sophomore shortstop this past season with nine doubles, five home runs and 44 runs scored. Ranked as a top 15 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball, she has visited both Alabama and Florida State in recent weeks and won the fielding competition at the Alabama softball camp.

 

Eads, who hit .361 in her varsity debut, played second base when not pitching. Lipperd and rising senior Kyra Rollo will push for playing time there as well.

 

Rising senior Kiley McIver hit .301 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs as both a first baseman and designated player.

 

That makes finding a strong solution at third base and two outfielders the top priority in the offseason.

 

“I am assuming it will take us several games into the season next year to figure out how to replace those four (seniors) just because they have been here so long and starters all four years they have been here,” said Hensley, who secured his 100th win as head coach of the Golden Bears this past season. “It’s going to be tough. We got to the point I know where they are going to be, I know how they are going to be there, and I know who will catch it. It will be hard to learn some new players coming into next year.

 

“We have some juniors that will be seniors now step up like Rollo, Lipperd and (Caitlyn) Richardson. Those are girls we are going to have to rely on next year that didn’t get a ton of playing time this year and they are chomping at the bit to show what they can do.”

 

Rising juniors Abby Brenner and Riley Maulden and rising sophomore Addysyn Wettrick will add to the outfield battle for playing time.

 

Hensley also has six experienced travel ball players arriving from the middle school program that finished 8-3 under the direction of the aforementioned record-setting File.

 

“I know we’ve got a couple of eighth graders coming in that might be able to step up and help in some regard,” said Hensley.

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