Ladies set to begin 2015 softball season
With the numbers coming out for the team at an all time high, the head coach of the Tyler Consolidated Lady Knight softball team, Samantha Livingston, has about a million and one line-ups she can test out on the diamond this season.
“We have 25 out for the team, 11 of them freshmen, so I’d say, yes, we’re definitely having a junior varsity team,” she said. “As for everyone else, we’re only returning three starters, so some positions are wide open.”
Tyler Consolidated lost the bulk of their talent and starters when they graduated seven strong seniors from last year’s team: Megan Carpenter, Devinn Moore, Jasmine Moore, Shandi Long, Esmee Coster, Bailey Smith, and Alex Bubenchik.
This year’s team will be made of one senior, two juniors, 11 sophomores, and 11 freshmen-the majority of them with little to no varsity experience.
Lone senior, Nikki Little, playing her year in a Silver Knight uniform, will see time at the catcher position as well as in the outfield. The two juniors, Baylee Roberts and Kali Shanabarger, both return with experience, with Roberts holding down her outfield position and Shanabarger more than likely securing third.
The athletic sophomore class will be who Livingston will lean on the most during the season with all but two of them seeing quality innings last year. Vanessa Templeton and Madison West will each return to the circle in the pitcher’s position for the Ladies in Silver. Both are dependable utility players, but when not controlling the game from the number one slot, West will likely hold down the short stop or catcher’s positions, while Templeton will be either behind the plate or at first base.
Also expected to see major innings on the field this season are sophomores: Ali Cooper, outfield; Maria Long, catcher/short; Bailee Longwell, third base, outfield; Payden Clem, second base; Kylie Martin, short/second base; Rhianna Long, outfield; Hannah Ankrom, first base; Katelyn Locke, outfield; and Megan Miller, outfield.
The 11 freshmen will be tried just about everywhere to assess their strengths at certain positions, but as yet, nothing has been written in stone: Ashley Fluharty, Julianna Miller, Kamryn Davis, Madison Lasick, Kenna Smith, Joraldra Rice, Kandace Fisher, Autumn Wells, Ashira Winfrey, Monica Likens, and Danielle Grimes.
“We really are a very young team this year,” coach Livingston said. “Right now we are definitely ahead of where we were at this point in last year’s season. The girls are working very hard and have determination.
“Assistant Coach Cathy Boggs and I have high expectations for this season.”
The Lady Knights were scheduled to begin their season at home on Monday and will host St. Marys at home on March 25.
The team will travel to Magnolia on March 27 and host their first double header of the year on March 28 when the Red Devils come to town to begin play at 11 a.m.