Frontenac softball fueled by early exit in 2021 state playoffs

The Raiders return 8 of 9 starters from last year's regional championship team.

FRONTENAC, Kan. – Frontenac’s loss to Silver Lake in the first round of last year’s 3A state tournament still stings.

“It’s come up several time in our conversations,” says head coach Cassie Rhuems, “We all remember the great season we had, but how you finish is something you remember.”

“It burns,” says junior infielder Hattie Pyle, “It’s just not the way we wanted it to end, obviously.”

“Just thinking about how it ended was kind of sad,” says junior pitcher Mia Brown, “but I think we’ll make a good comeback this year.”

“I’m hoping we remember those feelings and use that to motivate us to get to where we want to be in May,” Rhuems adds.

Frontenac loses just one starter from last year’s team in infielder Raven Warren – who is now playing at Allen CC in Iola, Kansas.

They return three 1st team All-State players (Mia Brown, Heather Arnett and Abi Beaman) and 2nd team All-State pick Annie Lee – in a lineup that can pretty much do it all offensively.

“I really truly believe 1-9 is going to be a power up there,” Rhuems says of her offensive lineup, “Whether it’s speed, power or placement of the ball…The kids who have been here the last couple weeks have been swinging the bat well.”

“We have girls who can hit the ball. We have girls who can run and bunt,” Pyle says, “With that…it’s just kind of hard to stop.”

“When you pair that with the defensive mindset that I have, we have the potential to be a really good team this year,” Rhuems adds, “I just hope we reach that potential.”

Brown is back in the circle for the Raiders after a 1st team All-State season last year.

“We’re really excited to have Mia back in the circle. Last year she had just come off that horrible leg injury and really worked hard to get back and be in a position to lead us in the circle,” Rhuems says of her junior pitcher, “She did a great job of that, and I expect nothing less than that from her this year.”

“I settled in really well last year, and I think this year will be even better, having that first year of experience,” Brown says.

“One great thing is that we have some kids behind her who can throw the ball a little bit for us in the circle this year,” Rhuems adds, “That will allow her to play some different positions on the field this year, which I know she will be excited to do.”

Frontenac has high expectations with a talented, proven and experienced group.

That group is motivated to get back to state and get a different result this spring.

“These kids remember what it felt like last year to go home. We had an expectation to go up there and win that first round game. Props to Silver Lake, they’re a great team – but we didn’t play our best softball. I think that taste is sour in their mouths,” Rhuems finishes, “The basketball kids had a great run with their program and I think they had expectations to move on in the state tournament. I just hope all of those things drive these kids to make it to that second round of the state tournament, but also to focus on what we have to focus on right now. We have to get better at the little things, so when we get to regionals and the state tournament we give ourselves a chance to be successful.”

Frontenac opens the season on March 29th, on the road against Hume, Missouri.