VAN ALSTYNE — The Lady Panthers softball team is going into the 2018 season with hopes for a better outing than their previous season of play. Going 7-16, while being 2-9 in district play, made them shy of making the playoffs for the 2017 season.

Head coach Jason Brogdon will be working with a younger Lady Panthers team this coming year for the 2018 season, losing the senior presence and production of Peyton Welch, who hit .569 with 26 RBIs in her final 2017 season. Also absent will be the steady hitting of Carly Ochoa, who hit .387 and 11 RBIs in her last season for the Lady Panthers before her graduation in 2017.

The team will now turn to existing players to put in extra effort, such as burgeoning talent sophomore Micah Welch, who hit .500 in 12 at bats during her freshman year. Also returning will be hot-at-bat junior Kallie Robertson, who hit .361 last season.

Though the first official pitch of the season won’t be thrown until mid-February, the Lady Panthers will start their practice in January as they prepare for a strong 2018 season.