Lumberjills’ Softball Squad Striving for Improvement
Valley Lumberjills veteran head coach Gary Partridge thinks his team is improving; thus, the Lumberjills hope to challenge the big dogs and win a lot more games this season. Speaking of “big dogs,” new to the Lumberjills’ schedule are Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated, along with Frontier.
Sixteen players make up Valley’s softball roster, including 11 returning players. There are also five seniors that make up the team.
Partridge did lose a couple of players that decided not to return.
He also lost veteran players Gracie Hayes and Cassidy West to graduation.
However, Partridge feels he has a solid roster and plenty of players with experience.
He smiles ear-to-ear when talking about this year’s team.
“I have a great recipe in players that will surely taste great when putting them all together,” Partridge said.
He has a trio of nice pitchers in Megan Brown (11), Kensey Harris (10), and Christine Williams (12); and he has two catchers in Alex Bassett (12) and Olivia Scyoc (9).
Coach Partridge also has five players back who continually put the ball into play – Sydney Bucher (.434), Alexandra Bassett (.368), Tessa Dudgeon (.345), Jamey West (.333) and Brown (.268).
But Partridge defensively wants to eliminate a high amount of errors, having given up 78 errors between first and second base; as well as the high amount of stolen bases given up from last season-100 stolen bases, to be able to be more competitive.
He feels that with throwing more strikes and having a pair of solid catchers, the base-stealing will fix itself, and Brown and Harris will be on the mound with the other holding down second, and Bucher holding down first. Bassett, West and Scyoc are all competing for the catchers duties.
Dudgeon will hold down the shortstop position, while freshman Rachel Bates is a lock at the hot-corner. Partridge has a nice core of infielders to replace anyone in the infield in Duke, Olivia Scyoc, Elizabeth Conley and Alayna McKelvey.
Scyoc, Conley and McKelvey are all very talented freshmen that will see plenty of playing time.
In the outfield there are a lot of girls competing for playing time with Williams, West, McKelvey, Madeline Willoughby, Emma Ueltschy and Hailey Baker each vying for playing time.
“You know it’s nice to know that you don’t have to spend a lot of time going through the fundamentals of playing softball as all these girls, including the freshmen, have made our job as coaches a lot easier when we go to work at practice,” said Partridge and assistant coach, Rusty Nice.
The Lady Lumberjills will have a tall task to start the season as they will travel to Notre Dame March 20;they will host Cameron March 21, play Madonna in a double-header March 24, and take on Paden City March 26.
Lady Lumberjills Schedule: March 20, Notre Dame; March 21, Cameron (6 p.m.); March 23, St. Marys; March 24, Madonna (DH, Noon); March 26, Paden City; March 30, Tyler Consolidated; March 31, Beallsville (1 p.m.); April 2, Cameron (5:30 p.m.); April 4, St. Marys (5:30 p.m.); April 9, Hundred (5:30 p.m.); April 10, Paden City; April 11, Clay-Battelle (5:30 p.m.); April 16, Hundred; April 17, Beallsville; April 18, Notre Dame; April 19, Clay-Battelle (5:30 p.m.); April 23, South Harrison; April 24, Magnolia; April 25, Tyler Consolidated; April 28, Frontier (DH, 11 a.m.) All games start at 5 p.m. unless noted.