JWCC Prairie State Profile: Brown County softball team looks for experience to lead to more postseason success

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Brown County's Cyrah Dunlap, right, is one of four seniors the Hornets will rely on heavily in their pursuit of a third consecutive Class 1A regional championship. | Photo courtesy Scott Bemis

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — Graduation hit the Brown County softball team relatively hard, taking away eight players who contributed to back-to-back Class 1A regional championships.

By no means should that suggest the cupboard is bare.

Buoyed by the return of starting pitcher Taryn Moorman, the twin tandem of Katey and Klare Flynn and versatile Cyrah Dunlap, the Hornets enter the season ranked ninth in the Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A state poll and are embracing their own expectations to chase another regional title and more.

“We’re hoping to win the conference this year and make a run in the postseason,” Katey Flynn said.

They have the know-how to make it happen.

The Flynn twins were part of the record-setting Brown County girls basketball team that reached the sectional championship game and won a single-season record 31 games. Moorman and Dunlap played critical roles in the Hornets winning their first 26 games last spring and finishing 29-2.

Add sophomore Ashlee Markert and junior Brooke Garthaus to the mix — both starters who combined for seven hits and eight RBIs in three postseason games last season — and there’s a good base to build upon.

“It’s impossible to fill the shoes of the seniors we lost last year and the talent that they brought with them, but we have a great group of seniors this year who are all putting in the work on and offseason,” Klare Flynn said.

Brown County hurler Taryn Moorman won 20 games last season and earned Class 1A second-team all-state honors. | Photo courtesy Scott Bemis

Having an ace in the circle is bona fide plus.

Moorman went 20-1 with two saves and a 1.87 ERA over 127 innings last season. She struck out 140 and walked just nine and finished one strikeout shy of the Brown County single-season record for Ks. During the summer, she pitched for the Tri-County all-stars who qualified for the Senior League World Series in New Jersey.

She earned second-team all-state honors from the Illinois Coaches Association. 

“One thing I’ve learned is to keep my composure,” Moorman said. “I always remind myself that my teammates always have my back no matter what.” 

Moorman and Katey Flynn also were first-team All-Western Illinois Valley Conference selections last season with Klare Flynn a second-team pick. And they’ve all played together since youth leagues and been coached by Hornets skipper Dave Woodruff since junior high.

“The strength in this team starts with the core four seniors,” Woodruff said.

They hope to get Brown County deeper into the postseason than it has ever gone before.

To do so, Woodruff said it will take “people stepping up and filling the holes left by the seniors last year, and Taryn will always give us a chance to compete. So we will need to find some more offense at the back end of the order.”

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