GREENE – The 23-1 Greene Trojans softball team reflects on a tremendous season, the first with head coach Judi Mansheffer. After making it all the way to states and coming four outs away from a state title, Mansheffer couldn’t be any prouder of her girls even though the loss hurt.
“The moment got to them. We couldn’t execute our bunts and get the ball in play, even with a runner on,” she said. “We had a great season and it’s sad it ended that way. We just came up an inning short.”
With the states run, several Trojans received 2022 MAC Conference all-star recognition, including Senior Olivia Kennedy being named MVP.
Kennedy finished with 245 strikeouts on the season, including 38 strikeouts in the two final games, and with no earned runs scored against her. Kennedy also finished the season with a .544 batting average, second on the team and always contributed at the top of the batting order. After graduating, she will be attending Caldwell University on a full-ride scholarship. Caldwell University is one of the winningest softball programs in NCAA Division II out of New Jersey.
“Olivia was dominant and the MVP is just one of many awards coming. Even the state committee themselves said she was the best they’ve seen at states in years,” Mansheffer said.
Behind Kennedy was her back-bone and catcher McKenzie Scott, who was also named an all-star. Scott finished fourth on the team with a .451 batting average. Scott also had two triples, one in each game at states.
“ Kennedy and Scott were top of the line in pitching and catching duos. Kennedy’s hardwork has put her where she is, but the fact that she had a partner catching the ball at the other end was very trustworthy,” Mansheffer said.
Leading the way on offense was Payton Yahner. Yahner’s .573 batting average led the team, including a few home runs. She is also expected to be the starting pitcher next year after going 6-0 for Greene this season.
“Payton is just as good as the two opposing pitchers we saw at states. I know she’s a hard worker who will put in the work this offseason. I see us winning with her next season,” Mansheffer said.
Infielder Kylie Ferris also received first team all-star recognition with being third on the team with a .484 batting average.
Payton’s sister Abbey Yahner played first base for the Trojans this season. She received second team all-star recognition as a freshman.
“ At first, she had a rushed start defensively, but by the end of the season, she was top notch,” Mansheffer said.
Mansheffer also praised Rhea Malmquist for her tremendous defensive work this season. Malmquist joins Abbey Yahner on the MAC second team.
“Rhea at third base was fearless. She would put her face down about three feet away from the batter, daring them to bunt or hit,” she said.
With losing Kennedy as the lone senior, Greene remains full of talent with a positive outlook for next season.
“ We have to come into every season fresh. Nothing is guaranteed, roles could easily change,” Mansheffer said. “ I’m just excited to have back-to-back years with great kids.”
Congratulations to the 2022 Greene Trojans softball team on a great season and best of luck to Olivia Kennedy.