Hundred Lady Hornet Buzzing With 19 Players
Third-year Hundred Head Coach Brian Bartlett and softball guru Larry Tustin have a roster of 19 players, including a pair of three-year lettermen and plenty of depth that have the Hornet coaches excited. Last season, they won 11 games, but dropped 5-3 to Trinity in the sectional championship. Nevertheless, Hundred could be a handful.
The Lady Hornet will need to replace four-year starters Jordon Gorby and Rachel Ashcraft, who graduated last year. Gorby had been the starter on the mound for four seasons and Ashcraft was a great hitter and it will take some time for their replacements to get with the program. However, Tustin isn’t a novice to fastpitch from the mound and Bartlett’s hitting and fielding expertise are second to none.
The core of this year’s team will be Raven McDiffitt, a second-team OVAC and first-team Mason-Dixon Conference honoree and Mercedes Goff, an OVAC Honorable Mention and second team Mason-Dixon award winner.
McDiffitt was the team’s leading hitter last season. She batted .510 with an on-base average of .640 and will start at first base. She is fearless on the base paths and can swipe a base or two any time she wants.
Goff will do most of the pitching and is a solid stick at the plate as well. She hit for .300 with an on base percentage of close to .500. When she isn’t pitching she will take over duties at short stop.
When Goff is pitching, four-year starter Macy Woods will move from the hot corner to short. Woods is also a solid contact hitter and batted over .350 on the season. Senior Lindsay Burley is another big bat for the Lady Hornet. She batted over .400 last year and will hold down the center field position.
If you throw in second year starters Emily Ebert at second base, Haley Hayes behind the plate, Katie Tennant, Shelley Cork, Taylor Ashcraft and Meranda Roe in the outfield, the Hornet will be as strong as any Class-A team in the area.
However, the Hornet will not be as strong until the younger players start learning their positions. They have seven first-year players, five of whom are freshmen. There is one sophomore, Ashley Yoho, and two juniors.
First-year juniors Cheyenne Myers and Taylor Lind will see plenty of action in the outfield, with Myers will getting some reps in the infield as well. Yoho is capable of playing multiple positions and will see time about anywhere on the field.
Freshmen Nikki Cunningham, Crystal Bowman, Katrina Morgan, Tameka Kernen and August Morris are new to the sport and will give Bartlett some flexibility to his substitution.
“There is always a positive if you can keep the faith,” said Tustin. “We are looking forward to watching the girls perform and grow as we go.”
Bartlett adds, “This group of girls are working hard each day to get better and, as a coach, that’s what you want to see. I really look for Raven to lead us offensively, as well as Macy and Lindsay. We have speed at the top of the line-up and the end of the line-up. Defensively, we are very good, and we have loads of experience back. Many of the girls have played summer ball and have worked hard on their own in preparation for the season.”
In addition, Bartlett said when the girls can get some game experience in and gain the confidence, they could be a team that might do some damage down the road.
“We will miss Gorby a lot,” Bartlett concluded. “But Goff is working as hard as anyone to fine tune her skills. And having Coach Tustin mentoring her, she will make the transition a lot easier.”
Hundred’s next game is at home today at 5 p.m. against West Greene.
Hundred 11, Trinity 10
Hundred scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat last year’s sectional champion Morgantown Trinity, 11-10, in a thriller played at Hundred March 26.
Both teams scored a run in the first frame and Hundred pushed two runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead. However, Trinity put up a three spot in the third and tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth to double up Hundred 6-3.
But, the Lady Hornet inched a little closer by putting up a run in the fourth and fifth innings to close the gap to 8-5 heading into the sixth frame. Trinity tallied two more runs in the sixth, but Hundred took the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a six-run burst.
Trinity tacked on a run in the top half of the seventh to pull to within a run, but the Hornet hurler Mercedes Goff took care of business and closed out the game with no more damage to get the win for Hundred.
Goff struck out four batters and walked two to gain the nod on the hill. “I’m very proud of the girls. They never quit and fought to the end,” said Hundred head Coach Brian Bartlett. “Mercedes pitched well and our defense made the plays when we needed them the most. We left 12 runners on base and committed 10 errors and we need to correct these, but we capitalize on errors ourselves against a very dangerous team.”
Cheyenne Myers and Macy Woods both had three singles, while Goff drilled a pair of singles and a double. Hayley Hayes drilled a double and walked twice, while Raven McDiffitt added a two-RBI single and walked twice.
Lyndsay Burley plated three, while Katie Tennant walked four times, while Nikki Cunningham walked twice and Shelley Cork once.