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Mount Mercy Softball Goes to Bat with a New Coach

by Pat Burns


The young Mount Mercy Softball team will be led by a new coach this season, Mary Kate Dougherty.  Dougherty, has extensive softball experience, playing four years for Mount Saint Mary Academy and then playing four years in college for Thiel College.  She also has served as an assistant coach for various local softball travel teams for the past three years.

The team is young with only one senior.  Dougherty is counting on her two returning All-Catholic selections from last season, sophomores Emma Labby (Lakeview) and Emma Caughel (Hamburg), along with junior Trinity Kehoe (Derby) to lead the team this season.  Labby is the team's catcher, Caughel is a pitcher/infielder and Kehoe is playing second base.  Also expected to play key roles this season are newcomers freshmen Rilee Farrell (West Seneca), Mia Freedenberg (Lakeview) and Taylor Jahn (Buffalo).  Farrell and Freedenberg are both playing in the infield and Jahn is the team's starting pitcher.

Dougherty believes the strength of her team is the camaraderie between the team members. "I have preached from day one that softball is a team sport; we win and lose together as a team. I have seen unselfishness thus far during practice," Dougherty said.  "I also think our pitching will be up and coming as well. It may struggle at time throughout this season, but it will be what keeps us in games against better teams."

Traditionally the Monsignor Martin League has very strong softball teams, so Dougherty expects each contest to be a challenge. She feels that the key to the season will be to learn to take each challenge and failure in stride. "We have a very young team that will be going against older, more successful, more-experienced teams. If we are able to learn from our mistakes and continue to work together, we will outwork the more talented teams with hard work," Dougherty remarked. 

The team will play a 12-game schedule with two non-league contests.  Dougherty expects to see improvement in the team, both in athletic ability and softball skills from the first day until the end of the season.  She feels that the team will be more competitive than in years past, although it may not be reflected in the win-loss record.

"I am so thankful Mount Mercy put their faith in me to lead their softball program. When you have players who are willing to learn and put in the hard work to get better, it is very rewarding to see the positive changes a player undergoes," Dougherty concluded.


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