Bailee Giger’s players have shown repeated ability to battle through adversity during tough seasons, a trait the second-year coach doesn’t believe can be taught.
While West Platte won just three games in her first season, the players were more competitive in most games coming off a winless 2015. The Bluejays even won a first round matchup in Class 1 District 14 play in their first season since moving down from Class 2.
Entering Giger’s second season, West Platte has almost no spots to fill and a renewed sense of confidence while seeking to improve on last year’s 3-16 record.
“Our third win was in districts,” Giger said. “I think for a team to lose 10 in a row and come back and believe you can win in districts is a big deal. Having that confidence now going into my second year as head coach is big.”
West Platte features a projected infield full of seniors, including Rachel Heili (first base), Alyssa Knox (second base), Makayla Wardlow (third base) and Kaitlin Larison. Heili and Knox were both All-KCI Conference performers, while Larison returns at shortstop after not playing a year ago.
In addition, Sikoya Richard — another senior — is back behind the plate after earning all-district honors as a junior. Lea Moose, a junior, was an all-district outfielder.
Karah Dunham, a sophomore, will be the main option at pitcher, while Moose, Knox and Larison could see some innings. Despite going 0-7 in a tough KCI schedule, West Platte saw marked improvement from its winless 2015, and many of the seniors were a part of a run to a Class 2 district championship game as freshmen.
“We have a solid group of seniors,” Giger said. “My whole infield is seniors; my catcher is a senior. Experience-wise, we’re heavy in that so we just have to put it all together.”