Senior leader: Lady Warriors’ lone senior being counted on to lead by example


As the lone senior on this year’s roster, Mackenzie Hurst is set to lead the Warrenton softball team as they look to return to the state tournament this season.

The Lady Warriors won a district title and reached the state tournament last season. Warrenton lost two all-state players and a third player who was named to the all-district team to graduation last season. Warrenton softball coach Chad Berrey is looking to Hurst and other key returning players to preserve the culture created by last year’s senior class.

“We’re looking to our four to five returning starters to return and hopefully preserve the culture that we had last year and continue our success,” Berrey said.

Hurst is a senior captain this season. Hurst led the team last season with 22 extra base hits and a .719 slugging percentage. She earned all-region honors last season. Hurst stressed the family atmosphere that the team had last season made the sport more enjoyable. The team has a lot of new faces this season, including nine freshmen.

“I’m hoping that we can continue to be successful,” Hurst said. “Not only that, but to keep the family feeling that we had last year. We hadn’t had that the first few years. And then last year we actually all got along really well and it was a lot more enjoyable. So I’m hoping for that again this year. As the only senior, I’m trying to keep that going.”

After playing mostly second base and shortstop prior to starting her high school career, Hurst has settled in at third base for Warrenton. While the transition was challenging at first, Hurst believes she has settled into her position. She believes her comfort level at the third base position helped her offensive numbers improve over the past couple seasons, along with a growing confidence. Hurst’s offensive numbers have improved each year for the Lady Warriors.

“The environment has changed a lot just with all the girls changing and the chemistry of the team,” Hurst said. “So I think comfort was the biggest thing, and confidence.”
According to Berrey, Hurst’s talent combined with her elite work ethic and attention to detail took her game to the next level. He is looking for Hurst to take on a leadership role as the lone senior on the team. Hurst leads by example by the way she practices, plays and lifts up her teammates, Berrey said.

“Probably every coach in the nation preaches attention to detail,” Berrey said. “But Mack takes that to the next level. Everything she does, she does with precision. She’s meticulous with her practice. She does everything right. So with her raw natural talent and her work ethic, she has become an elite athlete and I’m looking for some big things coming from her.”

After being negative early in her high school career, Hurst now focuses to keep her body language positive. This helps her and her teammates perform at a high level, she believes.
Hurst hopes to help the newcomers to the team transition through their first season on the varsity team. Hurst specifically cited the team’s success last season and the improvement she has had each of her first three seasons.

With such an inexperienced roster this fall, Berrey believes Hurst will be the example the team needs this season.

“Mackenzie is a perfect image of what we want,” Berrey said. “And I think she’ll do a pretty good job with us putting that pressure on her. We tell other players, if you can mirror what Mackenzie does in practice, in a game and in the dugout, we will have the culture that you guys want to be a part of.”