The Lady Tide softball team’s recent tryout netted some young but determined varsity athletes. The young ladies who will take the field for the 2012 season are Erica Golden, Taylor Poole, Sam Garcia, Alyssa Anderson, Emily Hester, Brittany Smiley, Kaylyn McEwing, Madalyne Flynn, Harley Dawson, Katie Estill, Makaylee Fowler and Caitlyn Wingate.
Last year’s squad ended its run with a disappointing 10-game skid en route to a 5-19 season. This year, the ladies are looking to bounce back and, according to head coach Brian Thomas, their hopes are high.
“I think we will be better. We have committed ourselves and expect to have a much better season. Our goals are to have a winning season, host a subregion crossover series and make the state tournament,” said Thomas, who acknowledged his team does face some challenges.
“We are very young. We only carry one senior on our varsity, so youth and inexperience will be a battle for us, especially early in the season,” he said.
Even so, Thomas said, the team does have its share of strengths.
“I feel our strengths will be on the infield,” he said. “We are very happy with the progress of our freshman pitchers, Harley Dawson and Caitlyn Wingate, and also with our sophomore pitcher, Emily Hester. That, coupled with our four returning starters on the infield, makes us confident that we will be able to defend that part of the field.”
Thomas said that he expects his entire team to give a 100 percent in the effort department. Additionally, he thinks that Poole, Flynn and McEwing will serve as on-the-field leaders for the Lady Tide. The coach also expects his lone senior, Golden, to shine.
“I am looking forward to getting our team out and playing this fall. We are young but very talented,” Thomas said. “Our one senior, Erica Golden, is our heart and soul. She is a great leader and has our younger girls working hard.”
The region realignment forced some changes in the Lady Tide’s schedule this year, but the coach said he still feels they’ll face some tough teams.
“Realignment really doesn’t affect us too much. Bryan County, Metter and St. Vincent’s are all tough teams that are moving in, and McIntosh County always poses a tough test for us, so the competition gets no easier for us,” Thomas said.
The Lady Tide kick off their season Aug. 10 in Waycross, where they’ll face Brantley County, Clinch County and Brunswick High School in a weekend tournament.