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Looking ahead to spring softball previews
Lady Ads’ special plate punch stalled by injury? BHS girls, Lady Hawks much more seasoned


Though Farragut's 2010 softball lineup should be filled with potent sticks, injuries at two key positions are cause for concern.

Meanwhile, Bearden coaches rave about the maturity and softball knowledge their Lady Bulldogs have acquired since last season, while eight of nine starters return from 2009 on a roster featuring only four seniors.

Michael Fredieu, Hardin Valley Academy head coach, said he’s confident improved hitting will complement defensive and pitching strengths from 2009 — hoping to improve on a 7-12 inaugural season with most girls returning.

FARRAGUT


Andrea Murry, FHS junior starting shortstop, recently broke her wrist and is out indefinitely, head coach David Moore said, adding senior starting catcher, Paige Kula, is out with shoulder issues.

Stephanie Harris, an All-state honoree and University of Virginia signee, is at first base, joined across the diamong by All-District junior third baseman Megan Harris, her sister.

At second base, sophomores Kaci Murr and Brittany Gray are “sharing time,” Moore said.

Experience is a plus on the mound. Murr, a freshman last season whose pitching — especially in late in the season — helped FHS finish second in District 4-AAA league and tournament action, joins senior Allison Devaney, the other ‘09 top pitcher.

Moore said Devaney and Murr "aren't going to walk too many people, but they're not going to strike out too many people.”

In the outfield, junior Madison Gray, a dependable stick at the top of Farragut's 2009 lineup, “probably will be in center[field].”

Senior Samantha Watson will “probably be in right field to start the season. She's kinda paid her dues to get that first start there.”

Junior Chelsea Sutphin and freshman Tori Etheridge are battling in left field, while freshman Haley Retterer "could push for some time as a freshman in the outfield.”

Etheridge “is going to push for playing time at short, catching, possibly in the outfield or possibly at third,” Moore said.

Pitching depth is provided by sophomores Brittany Gray and Heather Buchannan.

“Claire Berman is showing some improvement as an outfielder,” Moore said about the sophomore.

Looking to contribute is senior Abbie Cooper, sophomore Macy Etter and freshmen Nicole Henningson, Elisa Carrasco, Ashley Adkinds and Erin Smith.

BEARDEN

“We look at where we were at last year at this time to where we are this year, and it's a completely different team,” BHS head coach Andrea Veler said.

Sophomore Sara Burklin will play first, while the middle infield is fortified with senior Hannah Champlin at second base and seniors Haley Miles, an All-District honoree last season, at shortstop.

Emma Kugler, a sophomore, returns to start at third.

Amanda Dunaway, also a sophomore, is the starting catcher. “She's going to be a key player for us this year,” Veler said.

Underscoring the degree of youth in Bearden's outfield is freshman Danielle Willis, winning the spot in left field.

Sophomore centerfielder Kiarra Freeman, who started as a freshman, brings speed to the top of the batting order. “She's really worked hard in the off-season,” assistant coach Leonard Sams said.

Senior Jennifer Griffith takes over in right field.

Sams said senior pitcher Kaylee Heemsoth “really took off,” with her fall pitching for Team Tennessee all-stars during a high-profile tourney in Chattanooga.

However, Heemsoth still hasn't been named staff ace because “we have a freshman that's throwing phenomenal,” Sams added about rookie lefthander Jessi Goodson, also an outfielder. Dunaway and Kugler add pitching depth.

Looking for playing time are sophomore Issabella Crowley and freshmen Hannah Hagood, Julie Griffith, Jenny Parkman and Kristin Randolph.

HARDIN VALLEY

First baseman Elizabeth Gray, a senior ineligible until late last season due to transfer rules, has “a really solid bat,” Fredieu said, praising her 2009 postseason hitting plus her overall leadership.

Second base duties are between Emily Cox, a junior, and sophomore Kristin Eubanks.

Junior returning shortstop Liz Dobbins “is real quick on her feet, got some wheels, and she's got a nice, strong bat,” Fredieu said.

Michelle Owens, a senior, returns as starting third baseman. "She's good at the plate, and she's got a nice, strong arm ... and the ability to move laterally.”

Senior Lana Shaw returns as starting centerfielder “with wheels too, she's quick on the bases.”

Courtney Fraker, sophomore starting right fielder, “is really good at seeing the ball,” Fredieu said. “Good feet to move and to set up.”

Among freshmen vying to start in left field is Gabby Teague, who is “really quick” and “has a really strong arm,” Fredieu said.

Also in the mix in left field is freshman Jasmine Langston, also slated to be No. 2 pitcher behind staff ace Laura Hensley, a senior.

“I'm excited to have Laura back, she pitched well for us last year.”

McCall Beckler, a sophomore, is starting catcher. Freshman Megan Barnett will back up Beckler.

Freshmen back-ups are Audrey Jaeger (outfielder) and Kayla Johnson (third base). Seeking playing time are freshmen Kara Amin and Kaitlyn Fisher.

 

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