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Two seniors to lead Mashburn’s young Bearden softballers

With only two seniors and one junior on its roster, Bearden High School softball might be in a transition period for 2008.

It’s a sophomore-rich line-up from which second-year head coach Gary Mashburn will work. Much of the team’s youth will comprise an inexperienced outfield.

Meanwhile, no Bearden pitcher has emerged as a staff ace.

But in the infield, “We’re strong up the middle,” Mashburn said. “More strength up the middle than offensive potential right now. We’ll have to see how that develops.

“Are we going to be a big-inning team, or are we going to have to scratch one [run] at a time?” the coach added. “I believe we’re going to be one that’s going to have to manufacture a run when we can.

“It’s not a weakness, it’s just maybe the type of team we’re going to have as far as power. We’ve got a little power, but not consistent.”

Senior catcher Meagan Fredenberg is proving to be a vocal leader in addition to her talents behind the plate and with the bat.

Along with Carter Davis, the other BHS senior, “I’ve had them just take over a little bit and lead by example,” Mashburn said. “They’ve done a good job of that.”

About Fredenberg’s talents, the BHS skipper said, “Catching and hitting, she’s good at both.”

Davis returns to start at shortstop. “She’s a solid fielder, I guess defense would be her strong point,” Mashburn said. “Good arm.”

Freshman Laura Hensley will start at second base when not pitching.

“Laura Hensley brings a lot of speed to our line-up, and she’s also a strong infielder,” Mashburn said.

The team’s lead-off hitter in 2007, junior Alex Boris returns to start at third base when not pitching. “Strong defense,” the BHS head coach said about Boris.

Sophomore Elizabeth Gray is projected at first base.

“I guess her forte will be hitting, she should excel on the offensive end,” Mashburn said.

While searching for a pitching staff ace, Mashburn said he’ll rely on sophomore Kaylee Heemsoth, Boris and Hensley.

“They all probably will pull equal duty,” the BHS skipper said. “They’ve all developed several pitches.”

Heemsoth will move to second when Hensley is on the mound.

“Kaylee brings solid defense.”

Mashburn said that although his outfield positions were up in the air as of late last week, sophomore Ariel Walker “will be out there” at one of the three positions.

Others in the outfield mix are sophomores Jennifer Griffith, Sarah Sartin, Amanda Shiflett, Hannah Champlin, Casey Scott (right field), Haley Dodson (right field), Morgan Feliciano (left field) and freshman Lauren Solberg (right field).

Feliciano also will back-up Fredenberg at catcher, while Shiflett or Champlin likely will be designated hitter.

As for Griffith’s other possible duties, “There may be a time when she’ll come in and play second base,” Mashburn said.

Assessing his outfield talent, “We really don’t know the strengths and the weaknesses until I see ’em play in person,” Mashburn said last week before the team’s first scrimmage.

Biggest concern? “Depth in the outfield, just inexperience in the outfield,” Mashburn said.

Bearden will try to improve upon its fifth-place District 4-AAA finish in 2007 (6-8). The Lady Bulldogs were 9-21 overall.

“Our goal is always to win the district and move on through the playoffs to state,” Mashburn said. “That’s what we’ve set our sites on.”

Assistant coach is Leonard Sams.

The Lady Bulldogs’ season starts at 5 p.m. Monday, March 10, as Webb travels to BHS’s Kim Hazelwood Field.

Sevier County comes to Bearden for a 5:30 p.m. opening pitch Tuesday, March 11, with Carter visiting for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 12.


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