Eastern softball team to play Lake Land College

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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It may not be the regular season for the Eastern softball team, but it is still live game action to prepare them for the spring.

The Panthers have five new players on the roster this year, including four freshmen. Eastern also returns six seniors.

The new players include freshman outfielder Kristen Ames, freshman infielder Megan Burton, junior transfer first baseman Breya Cooper, freshman catcher/outfielder Morgan LaMore and freshman pitcher Valerie Thompson.

One of those seniors is Jessica Wireman, who has been the Panthers’ No. 1 pitcher since her freshman year.

Eastern is set to play a doubleheader Sunday at home against Lake Land College. The Panthers usually play Lake Land as it is just down the road in Mattoon.

The fall season for the Panthers will consist eight games with doubleheaders against Lake Land this weekend, Wabash Community College Sept. 30 and Illinois Central College Oct. 1

The Panthers will also play their usual Blue vs. Gray scrimmage series over the course of three days in October, beginning Oct. 6 and ending Oct. 8.

The fall season will be capped off with the Alumni Game Oct. 22.

Eastern lost Ashlynne Paul and Amber Toenyes to graduation as well as losing freshman Katie Grunert and redshirt sophomore Taylor Miokovic who both transferred out of the program.

Eastern finished last season 28-21 overall with a 10-5 record in Ohio Valley Conference play.

The Panthers had a lot of success throughout the season under the direction of coach Kim Schuette who was in her first year back with the program after coaching at Purdue.

Eastern made the OVC Tournament last year, but saw its season come to an end after back-to-back losses to No. 1 seed Jacksonville State and No. 6 seed Eastern Kentucky.

The Panthers picked up a 6-5 win to open the tournament against No. 5 seed Murray State.

Eastern brings in much more experience than it did last year, having only two seniors. To go along with this year’s experienced group, Eastern has four juniors returning.

The doubleheader will start at 11 a.m. Sunday before the women’s soccer team plays at 1 p.m. to cap off the Family Weekend festivities.

Game two of the doubleheader will follow the conclusion of the 11 a.m. game.

Sean Hastings can be reached at581-2812 or [email protected]