Return of 7 starters gives hope for winning seasonPublished 5:52pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Brewer’s Lady Patriots are on a mission to have a winning season and be one of the Class 5A teams competing in the North Central Regionals in Huntsville on May 10-11.
To get there they’ll have to improve on last season’s 12-15 won-loss record and finish higher than third in the area.
Second year head coach Nikki Johnson knows that and so do her players.
“We didn’t accomplish what we set out to do last year,” said Johnson. “That was a disappointment and we don’t want to go there again. The players we have back are committed to getting things turned around.”
An optimistic outlook was voiced by the team’s returning seniors.
“We have some new girls that really want to play and us seniors want to go all the way,” said catcher Shelby Kent. If we try our hardest, I believe we can improve and win.”
“I think we can definitely make it past the area,’ said shortstop Alyson Thomas. “Our attitude is better and we’re bonding better than we were last year.”
Center fielder Felecia King said, “We’re all out there to give it 100 percent.”
“I feel more confident than I did a year ago,” added third baseman/outfielder Lindsie Smith.
Their outlook is tempered slightly by the loss of three seniors from the 2012 team. Gone are first baseman Cari Alderton, center fielder Ashlee Briscoe and second baseman Ashley Turney.
“They were important members of our team and will be missed,” Johnson said, “but I feel like we have players who can step up and fill the positions they left open.”
Seven of last year’s starters are back and represent a good nucleus of experience for the 2013 Lady Patriots. In addition to Thomas, Kent, Smith and King, they are juniors Ashley McMinemon, second base, Morgan Childers, left field and Morgan Wilson, pitcher.
Varsity newcomers are juniors Kayla Roberts, catcher/outfielder, Alex Kirby, outfielder, Megan Malone, infielder/outfielder and Taylor Gilmore, outfielder; and sophomore Caity Jett, first base.
The varsity and junior varsity rosters consist of 27 players.
Johnson said the strength of the Lady Patriots would be defense and the experience of the returning starters.
“One of the things that hurt us last year was our hitters not being able to adjust to the speeds of pitching,” Johnson said. “That’s something we’re working hard to improve.”
The Lady Patriots participated in two tournaments during the summer and worked out two days a week in the weight room.
“They all showed improvement both offensively and defensively and I hope that’s something that will carry over into this season,” said Johnson. “This group of girls has a strong work ethic and good leadership is being shown by the older players. “We have at least 10 players that stay after regular practice every day to work on improving their skills.”
Brewer is in a new area this year with Arab, Columbia (Huntsville) and Scottsboro coming in as common opponents.
“I feel like we’ll be in a better position to compete in our area,” Johnson stated. “We’ve played Arab before but don’t know a lot about either Columbia or Scottsboro.
“Developing a winning attitude is probably our biggest challenge,” Johnson pointed out. If we do that, the other things will take care of themselves. We definitely want a shot at competing in the sectional in May.
Celisa Dooley is working with the team as an assistant coach.
The Lady Patriots opened their season against Falkville on Feb. 19 and participated in the Hazel Green Tournament at the Sportsplex in Huntsville Feb. 22-23.
Brewer Lady Patriots 2013 softball schedule
Feb. 19 Falkville 4:30 p.m.
22-23 Hazel Green Tourn. TBA
25 at Hartselle 4:30 p.m.
26 West Point 4:30 p.m.
28 at West Morgan 4:30 p.m.
Mar. 4 Madison Academy 4:30 p.m.
5 Danville 4:30 p.m.
7 at Columbia (V) 4:30 p.m.
8-9 Hartselle JV Tourn. TBA
11 Grissom 4:30 p.m.
12 Arab 4:30 p.m.
14 Scottsboro 4:30 p.m.
15-16 Hartselle Varsity Tourn. TBA
April 1 at Danville 4:30 p.m.
2 Scottsboro 4:30 p.m.
4 at Grissom 4:30 p.m.
5-6 Bob Jones Var. Tourn. TBA
8 West Morgan 4:30 p.m.
9 Columbia 4:30 p.m.
11-13 Morgan Co. Tournament TBA
16 Priceville 2 p.m.
18 Arab 4:30 p.m.
19-20 Brewer Tournament TBA
25 Madison Academy 4:30 p.m.
29 Priceville 4:30 p.m.
May 2-3 Area Tournament TBA