Lucky for the 2013 Cass High School softball team, the Colonels have nine seniors and some key players returning to help the team improve from a 12-17-1 record a year ago.
“We should have a good year this year, I think. We’re coming in here with nine seniors so we’re looking for good things to happen,” coach Greg Hight said. “We are still playing a pretty tough schedule, but when you’re putting seven, eight, nine seniors on the field, you should be competitive.”
The Lady Colonels posted a 4-4 record in Region 7A-AAAA last season, won a game in their region tournament and made the state tournament.
However, Hight believes this season could be better.
“We were right around .500 last year, but we didn’t meet the expectations we thought we had for ourselves,” he said. “I think we expect to be one of the top teams in our region this time around.”
The team loses last season’s shortstop Bethany Ballard and third baseman Allison Story. Ballard signed with Armstrong Atlantic and Story with Georgia Highlands.
Ballard, the 2012 Daily Tribune News’ co-offensive player of the year hit .507 last season with three home runs and 21 RBIs. She also stole nine bases and scored 15 runs.
Story compiled a .304 batting average and accounted for 25 hits and 16 runs. She hit six doubles and drove in 10 runs.
Despite those losses, Hight still has plenty of talent among the group of girls he has returning.
Courtney Bailey highlights the group. The senior pitched to a 9-10 record in 22 games with 111 innings of work as a junior. She also struck out 112 batters while compiling a 2.67 earned run average. At the plate, Bailey hit .388, was walked seven times and stole 11 bases.
“Courtney Bailey will be in the pitcher’s circle for us,” Hight said. “She should be one of the better pitchers in this area, let alone the region.”
All-county honorable mentions Camey Kirkland and Bre Mahrt are returning among others.
“Our 3, 4 and 5 hitters are all returning, which will be Hannah Kirkpatrick, Kelsey Holloway and Bre Mahrt,” Hight said. “We’re returning all three outfielders from last year and we’re looking for big things from junior Lauren Womack.”
The Lady Colonels will begin their season at 6 p.m. today against Allatoona.
“We start out the year playing Allatoona and then we play Heritage early on. They are two of the top teams in the region. We play some bigger schools earlier in the year,” Hight said. “We’re going to test ourselves, see where we stand and see what we need to work on. We always try to play as good as competition as we can. The only way to get better is to play better competition.”