Most coaches who move into their first head coaching job go into a program which usually is rebuilding. For one new coach in
Lincoln County, she realizes a goal but also inherits a team looking to repeat as state champions.
Rebecca Lipsey will be in her first year as head coach of the Silex Lady Owls when the team opens their season Sept. 3 at Bowling Green. The Lady Owls posted a 24-1 record last year enroute to winning the Class 1 state championship and a regular season East Missouri Conference title. Lipsey, a Silex graduate, knows what it takes to be successful as she was a member of the Lady Owls’ state champion team back in 2006 and also competed in NAIA tournament play as a catcher at Central Methodist University.
“It is a dream of mine to come back, teach and coach at Silex,” she said adding, “I just didn’t think it would come this soon.”
Lipsey, who teaches in the elementary school, succeeds Robert James who became the activities director at Winfield High School. Also gone from the team were several outstanding graduates including Natalie Fleming, an all-state pitcher who will play for the Lady Tigers at Missouri University. Also solid contributors Lindsey Barnhart and Kimmy Duggan will also have to be replaced.
Members of the team include:
Seniors: Madison Henke, Jessie Hawkins, Rachelle Horne, Brittany Howard and Marcie Norton.
Juniors: Ashley Brown, Aly Miller, Leah Miller.
Sophomores: Rachel Lipsey, Melanie Miller, Michelle Norton, and Nikki Hawkins.
Freshmen who may see varsity action include Elly Bothe, Sydney Kreuger and Tessa Gruenwald. Other freshmen include Taylar Jett, Mandy Franklin and McIntyre Wilmes.
Brown is moving from third base to assume the catching duties, replacing Barnhart. She is also one of the club’s leading hitters from last year. Melanie Miller will handle the bulk of the pitching with Kreuger also seeing playing time there. Aly Miller, another solid hitter, will split time at third and at shortstop. Jessie Hawkins is returning after injuring her thumb early last season. Leah Miller, Lipsey and Michelle Norton are infielders with Howard, Nikki Hawkins Bothe and Gruenwald expected to be among the outfield prospects.
“I expect us to be strong defensively and our hitters to use their strengths and speed to help us score,” said Lipsey. “Aly has a sharp eye and struck out only a few times last season. She usually puts the ball into play. Rachel is a slap hitter. I hope they get on base for Madison, Ashley and Leah. I think Melanie has a chance to develop into a good pitcher as she gets more experience. I am excited to work with these girls and keep the tradition going this program has enjoyed.”
The Lady Owls will get tested early with Bowling Green followed Sept. 5 with a tough road game at North Callaway. Lipsey said Elsberry should be experienced and field a very strong club as well and Clopton will have a talented, young pitcher to lead them. She added the entire conference should be well balanced and competitive.