Park Hill South will have the pitching taken care of this season, but finding the offense to support all-state right-hander Olivia Kinsey and No. 2 starter Carolyn Stock will be the trick.
Entering off the best two seasons in school history, the Panthers have plenty to build around. Kinsey earned honors as Gatorade’s Missouri player of the year for her stellar junior season. Committed to the University of Oregon, she went 17-3 with 236 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings of work, while allowing just 85 hits and 33 walks (.965 WHIP) in 2015.
Kinsey made the Missouri Fastpitch Coaches Association first team all-state list.
Stock will also play first base but posted a 7-1 record in 13 appearances as Kinsey’s backup last season. While only a part-time starter last season, she will be counted on to provide more production with Park Hill South losing five starters from last year, including two-time all-state outfielder Kylie DeClue.
Park Hill South went 25-4 last year and won the Suburban Conference Red Division with an undefeated run through league play. The Panthers lost to eventual state champion Staley in the Class 4 District 16 semifinal, which denied them the second playoff berth in program history and second straight.
DeClue played a big role in both seasons, setting a school record with nine home runs last season and leading the Panthers in RBIs (42). Kasey Sadler, a departing shortstop, finished ahead of DeClue in runs, hits, batting average and on-base percentage, while catcher Erika Lutgen also played a big part in the offense.
Kinsey could help rebuild the offense, too, after ranking behind DeClue with six home runs and 28 RBIs last year. Kate Kobayashi returns off of an all-conference season at second base (25 steals, .411 batting average) as a freshman along with junior outfielder Taylor Johnson.
At the plate, Stock had eight extra base hits, including three triples and a home run, with a .314 batting average.