Winfield senior Audrey Wehde managed to build up some impressive momentum in the softball field last season, and hopes are high that she can pick up where she left off.
Wehde currently has a batting average of .344, as well as an on-base percentage of nearly .440.
She has 54 career hits, 30 RBIs and a fielding percentage of .878.
This year she will serve as the team’s shortstop, and will hit in the top third of the lineup.
Wehde grew up in Winfield and has been playing softball since she was five years old.
At one time, she also participated in basketball and volleyball.
It was clear from the start, though, that it was softball that had captured her heart.
“Softball has always been my sport,” Wehde said. “It has taught me so many life lessons.”
Wehde said she considers herself to be a very well-rounded player.
“I have a lot of experience in the infield and the outfield, and I have had a lot of good hitting coaches,” said Wehde.
Wehde’s goals for her final year of high school softball, however, are not necessarily statistical.
“My biggest goal is to be a good senior leader,” Wehde said. “I love helping others, and I will do pretty much whatever it takes to help improve our team as a whole.”
According to Softball coach Bryan Keim, however, that’s a goal Wehde has already achieved.
“Audrey is a leader by example, and also a good vocal leader for the underclassmen,” said Keim.
Wehde’s leadership isn’t limited to the softball field.
She is also active in Winfield’s FFA program, serves as a member of the student council and donates her time to a peer mentoring program called Link Crew – and those are just a few of the items on her list.
After finishing high school, Wehde plans to attend college, and to eventually become either a registered nurse or an occupational therapist.
In the meantime, she said she is primarily looking forward to watching this season’s softball team come together as a cohesive unit, and she hopes she can be an even more effective role model than she has been in the past.
Winfield finished second in their conference last season, and enjoyed a strong showing in the district tournament.
Wehde said that a little creativity and experimentation will be essential if the team is going to repeat last year’s successes and/or build upon them.
“We have a young team this year, so we need to find the right spots for those girls,” said Wehde.
Wehde said she remembers being one of those younger players herself, and how the advice and support of her cousins, Peyton and Olivia Ward, made all the difference.
Peyton Ward graduated in 2016 with a high school career batting average of .557, and an on-base percentage of .605.
She also had 113 career hits, 75 RBIs, and a fielding percentage of .929.
Olivia Ward graduated in 2018 with a high school career batting average of .454, and an on-base percentage of .516.
She also had 127 career hits, 77 RBIs, and a fielding percentage of .896.
Role models don’t come any better than that, and Wehde is on pace to rack up similar career numbers.
Wehde said she has fond memories of playing with both girls, and learning from them, memories which form the basis for her advice to the current underclassmen.
“Learn from the older girls on the team, don’t compare yourself to them,” said Wehde.