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Shelbyville softball opens 2023 season with shutout win over Seymour

Shelbyville softball coach Mark Hensley is tasked with setting high expectations for a talented squad coming off the program’s first-ever semistate appearance in 2022.

“That’s the hardest part with this, to make sure that they aren’t satisfied,” said Hensley. “Making it that far in the tournament and losing to the No. 1 team in the nation, there is no shame in that.

“Then, just making sure that they understand that even with that senior class last year gone and losing Miss Softball that this can still be a really good team. They have to remember that and not just be satisfied with having a good year last year and making sure they realize we can still win a lot of games.”

Win No. 1 came Tuesday in the season opener against Seymour. The Golden Bears, ranked No. 12 in the state coaches poll, scored in all six innings and pitchers Cheyenne Eads and Hailey Pogue combined on a two-hitter over six innings in a 10-0 victory over the Owls (0-1).

How does Shelbyville replace the loss of Karissa Hamilton (.526 batting average, 11 home runs, 39 RBIs), Indiana’s Miss Softball in 2022? With another Miss Softball candidate in senior shortstop Kylee Edwards.


For more on Edwards signing with Mississippi State, go to https://shelbycountypost.com/sports/661695


Edwards (.538, 17 doubles, 43 runs scored in 2022), a Mississippi State commit, made her senior season debut a memorable one with two hits, including a home run.

“She wants everybody to know she is pretty confident she is the best player in the state,” said Hensley. “She is trying to show that to everybody.”

Edwards (photo, right) locks down the leadoff spot in the Golden Bears’ lineup and is protected by another strong top half of the batting order.

“She has a lot of confidence because of the girls coming up behind her,” said Hensley. “With her batting leadoff, she knows if she gets on she is going to score.”

Great teams have great pitchers and Shelbyville has a pair in Eads, a junior who won 14 games last season, and senior Hailey Pogue (6-1 in 2022), who will play collegiately at the University of Indianapolis.

“Chey was fantastic today. I know she was a little bit mad at me for bringing her out in the fourth inning with the lead,” said Hensley. “We’ve got two No. 1s. Cheyenne was absolutely dealing tonight and it was tough to yank her out after only four innings because we wanted Hailey to get three innings.

“Hailey doesn’t always start our games (pitching) but there are about 150 teams in the state that would take her in a heartbeat and she would be their No. 1. It’s a good problem for us to have as to who is going to pitch because both can come out and really neutralize a team.”


For more on Pogue committing to the University of Indianapolis, go to https://shelbycountypost.com/sports/662753


Pogue (photo, left), who hit .333 with 10 doubles and 28 RBIs in 2022, produced several clutch hits during the record-setting season that propelled the Golden Bears within one win of a state championship game appearance. For a program that has consistently featured Division I-level talent over recent years, Hensley believes Pogue does not get enough attention for all her contributions at the plate.

“She is one of those that doesn’t get a lot of the notoriety, doesn’t get front page press from a lot of people and kind of slides under the radar but as far as coming through clutch, for the last couple of years she has probably had some of the biggest clutch hits that we’ve had in a season,” said Hensley.

Her final season opener as a Golden Bear included three hits – a double, a triple and a home run that resulted in three runs batted in.

“I don’t think she minds being under the radar a little bit,” said Hensley. “She keeps having games like that people will notice.”

Addison Stieneker made the Hoosier Heritage Conference’s All-Conference team as a freshman, hitting .422 with 11 doubles and 35 RBIs and will be counted on to follow-up her first season with another strong campaign.

“Addie is feeling a little bit of pressure,” said Hensley. “She had a couple at bats today where she was trying to do a little too much and swinging at pitches she normally doesn’t swing at. She has to realize she has worked really, really hard in the offseason and lived in the weight room the entire offseason and gotten really, really strong. She has developed into an absolute stud. Tonight, I think she was trying to do a little too much. She will settle down and be just fine. I’m not worried about her.”



Eads (.308, seven doubles in 2022) slides up in the batting order this season and will be a key defensive presence in the infield when she is not pitching.

While the infield in nearly intact from last season, sophomore Kali Laycock inherits the starting catcher’s role from Hamilton, the outfield is entirely new.

The program was bolstered by the return of senior Abby Brenner, who ran track in 2022. She went 1-for-4 Tuesday against Seymour and will fill one of the starting outfield roles this season.

“She got on a couple of times and made a couple of plays in centerfield. She was one we really missed last year,” said Hensley. “I’m glad she didn’t like track near as much and wanted to come back out this year. It has been a big help and she looked good today for her first game in two years.”

Senior Riley Maulden has battled injuries in the past but is back healthy and will be counted on to fill an outfield position this season.

Addysyn Wettrick, a junior, was another player in contention for outfield time but a hand injury is limiting her early this season.

Sophomore Destiney Johnson had four hits and three RBIs Tuesday playing both infield and outfield for the Golden Bears.

Rounding out the roster will be sophomore Aaliyah White and freshmen Sydney Brown, Hailey Maulden and Makinah Noel.

Shelbyville finished 24-6 and captured sectional and regional titles in 2022. The Golden Bears defeated Bedford North Lawrence, 4-3, in the semistate semifinal game before falling to Roncalli, 7-1, in the semistate championship game. Roncalli went on to capture its second-straight state championship.

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