One of Clearwater softball coach Chuck Schrader’s primary concerns for the 2014 season came true in the Indians’ third doubleheader, a sweep at the hands of Rose Hill.
“It was my greatest fear that we’d have one of those nights when we played like that,” said Schrader, whose team had five errors. “Since then we’ve had a few innings here or there where we show our inexperience and get rattled. But for the most part, we’ve been able to avoid it since.”
Clearwater is 16-4 and the clear favorite heading into its Class 4A-Division II regional on Tuesday. The other three regional teams — Trinity Academy, Norwich and Nickerson — have a combined 14 wins.
This is the first season that 4A has split into two divisions. In the past, most of the top 4A schools in the Wichita area, who were mainly in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League, faced each other during regionals, knocking each other out.
Clearwater won’t play another AV-CTL team this season.
“We’re certainly looking forward to regionals next week,” Schrader said. “Hopefully we can get through regionals and see what we can do at state.
“We don’t have to go back through the AV-CTL again. That’s what it’s all about. That’s tough. You know how tough it is in all divisions of the AV-CTL.”
Schrader was quick to say, though, that he is not overlooking any future opponent.
“All we’re trying to do is play our best softball and take advantage of a very favorable schedule,” he said. “We play a very tough schedule during the season, and I hope that helps us in regionals.”
Schrader chalks Clearwater’s improvement through the season to a defensive switch — he moved Sydney Warren from second to third, moved Erin King from third to left and Hayley Reibenspies from left to second.
“After Rose Hill, we felt that defensively it made us a little bit stronger,” Schrader said. “We put kids in a little better situation.”
Sophomore Sarah Teufel is 14-2 as Clearwater’s top pitcher, with a 3.83 ERA and hitting .407. Hayley Reibenspies has a .525 batting average with 37 RBIs and three homers.
Senior Bryna Vogel, a 2013 All-Metro selection at shortstop, continues to be a threat in the field and at the plate. She is hitting .641 with 35 RBIs, four home runs, 41 runs and a 20-game hitting streak.
“She’s been outstanding again this year,” Schrader said of Vogel. “Her season has probably been better than last year because she’s had way more chances at shortstop. And we have players who are benefiting from batting around her.”
Vogel, who has signed to play volleyball at Kansas State, was an All-Metro volleyball selection in 2013 and 2014, as well as All-Metro in basketball in March.
4A’s split – Before the split into two divisions in 4A, at least one Wichita-area regional was stacked with some of the state’s best teams.
Of the three area 4A-I regionals, only the McPherson and Winfield regionals have two teams with winning records. At McPherson, the Bullpups are 14-6, while Andale is 11-9. At Winfield, Mulvane is 14-6, Wellington 12-7.
In 4A-II, two of the three area regionals have only one team with a winning record.
The Hoisington regional, though, has three teams over .500 — Pratt (17-3), Larned (12-6) and Central Plains (15-5).