The women’s varsity softball team officially begins their regular season on Friday, March 11. The team is looking to improve from last season’s 3-16 record.
Last year’s season was one for rebuilding. The team spent it“trying to teach skills to the new girls,” said Becca Jones, a sophomore and last season’s starting pitcher. Previous to the 2014-2015 season, the Softball team lost 9 seniors, which was tough to overcome for the inexperienced team.
The previous season of reconstruction was a success for the softball team, according to Bryce James, head-coach of the Varsity Softball team. “The returning players have developed more from last year, so our softball IQ, knowledge of the game, is much better,” said James.
With the start of a new season, a great freshman class has come in and benefited the varsity team. The ninth grade class offers a range of skill and experience that has been developed before the high school softball season begins. “This year, softball will have girls that already know the game, who understand it. We can now improve from last year’s mistakes and build on them with the new freshmen class,” said Jones.
Varsity may go through some of the same obstacles as it did last season. The team consists of only 5 returning upperclassmen, 2 juniors and 3 seniors, out of the 19 player roster. The development of this young talent is a must for the coaching staff if they are looking for a more positive season. However, to have a great softball season, the team is in need of strong player leadership.
So far, Emma Zagardo has emerged as the leader of this young, developing softball team. The team lacked a catcher last season, so Zagardo stepped up and learned to play the position, even though she had never been put into the role before. “(This year) Emma is going to be a leader in the outfield and the infield. She’s a leader both verbally and physically, and the team looks up to her,” said Jones.
The Leesville softball team set 3 goals at the start of the season: be competitive in every game, finish .500 or better in the regular season, and make it to the playoffs.
To complete these goals, the coaching staff is looking to spend a good amount of time over the course of the season on items that are not directly related to the game, but are more focused on the team chemistry. “With a roster of 19 players, team chemistry is very important. The young ladies need to bond as team and all work toward a common goal of competing and winning games,” said James.
Another big point the coaching staff is trying to make this year is team competition. “At the end of the day, the best 9 players will start the game. When good talent comes in, all players work harder to get better. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats,” said James.
The Women’s Varsity Softball team has their first CAP-8 game at Heritage High School on March 11. Their first home game is versus Broughton on the March 14. For more info on Pride athletics and to view the full sports calendar, visit the website.