Lumberjills Return Many To Lineup Of 2009 Team
The Valley Lumberjill Softball Team is gearing up for another successful season under Head Coach Gary Partridge and Assistant Coach Allan Miller. The ‘Jills return a good portion of their starters that won last season’s sectional tournament against Cameron.
Lost to graduation were Bonita Lindsay, Toni Elder, Sammy Frye and Raquel Partridge, but Valley will return a large number of talented underclassmen who are now seasoned.
Frye and Partridge were all-staters who were the heart and soul of the club since its conception four years ago. They will be greatly missed.
“We had a big sophomore class last year and I believe every one of them contributed in one way or another,” said Partridge. “And I am expecting big things out of that class again this season.”
Partridge enters in his third season as softball mentor and is anxious for this year to get underway. “We are excited to get started,” Partridge added.
Valley will be led by a pair of seniors, Aly Midcap and Aly Weber, who both had breakout seasons last year. Midcap was their top pitcher and was an excellent outfielder. However, her on-base percentage is what has tabbed her as the ultimate team player.
Midcap batted .320 for the season and was walked a team-high 23 times. Not only is she a good hitter, she is an excellent bunter and has moved runners around quite frequently. Midcap will be batting second in the order.
Weber batted close to .300 and swiped double-digit bases for the ‘Jills last season. She looks to bat cleanup and will be deployed at first base.
Other notable players returning for the ‘Jills include Hannah Shaw, who is a player to watch. She makes good contact at the plate and will hold down the hot corner. “We expect big things out of Hannah. She is capable of hitting for power. She’s just got to go in there, relax and do it,” said Partridge.
Tjuana Bassett is another senior player that has contributed to the program. “She’s gets to the ball well,” said Partridge. “Anything hit at her at second base, she’s going to field cleanly. Offensively, she was down some, but came on at the end of the season and hit the ball extremely well, especially at tournament time. She would have liked to hit that way all year. She’s capable.”
Senior Megan Midcap will vie for one of the outfield slots along with Taylor Highley, Ashley Staley, Kristen Wolfe and Crystal Cook and will be a team leader, on and off the field.
Another notable returning player is Kayla Cecil, the number two pitcher. She throws strikes, doesn’t walk many batters and fields her position well. When she isn’t pitching, she will take over duties behind the plate. She has a gun of an arm and will keep base runners from trying to make things happen.
Sophomore Brittany Guthrie, who will handle the shortstop position, is a talent and will be the key to a very productive season for the ‘Jills. Guthrie makes contact with the ball and has shown she can hit with power, too.
Junior player Crystal Cook looks to spell Weber at first when she isn’t tracking down flies in the outfield, while Heidi Shaw backs up Cecil behind the plate. Another sophomore that looks to make the starting lineup is Ashley Staley. This red-headed player has grit and has worked hard to impress her teammates and coaches.
Junior Krista Hayes will see some time on the mound and, when she is goes to the circle, Wolfe will go behind the plate.
Coming off the bench will be Jessica Loy, Brooke Staley, Carla Mason, Morgan Starkey and Rachel Wyatt.
“We are solid in the infield and we have experience. We are excited to have a couple dependable pitchers that will give us a chance to win every night.” stated Partridge.
The ‘Jills, weather permitting, will play Clay-Battelle at Mylan Park at 6 p.m. on March 26 and will travel to Clarksburg March 27 to take on Notre Dame. They will then host a double header with Bishop Donahue on Saturday, March 28 beginning at 12 p.m.