The McClain Lady Tigers softball team is looking to start anew in the 2018 season as they transition into their first season in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
McClain returns four players that have are three year lettermen with the softball team and Lady Tigers head coach Ed Bolender expects them to be the backbone of the team.
“We do have good leadership coming from the upper classmen. We are really going to have to rely on our seniors. Kendall Pollard was first team All-League last year in centerfield and we are really going to count on her for leadership. Payton Smith in right field has improved every year and we hope that she can have an outstanding senior year for us. Brooklyn Rickman is also a three-year letterman for us. She is fighting for time in the infield right now but, she just needs to keep doing what she is doing and she will help us out in the long run,” said Bolender.
The Lady Tigers will field a relatively young team this season with Bolender predicting that the team could “start five sophomores and a freshman” on most nights.
“Our sophomores have a little bit of experience as well. Cierra Bolender got a couple of wins last season against conference rivals. Kaylee Stevenson is going to play third and short for us, while Beckley Smith will be at third base. Beckley and Kaylee started for us last year as freshman and they have a little bit of experience. We are hoping that the year of experience with the young kids will help us over the hump early in the season while we try to filter in two or three more young freshmen and sophomores,” Bolender said.
Bolender realizes that his team needs to make improvements from last season and feels that the defense is where the most improvement must happen for the Lady Tigers to reach their full potential this year.
“Defensively we have to improve this year. We had way too many errors and we gave away way to many runs in games last year. We have worked extremely hard in the offseason and this preseason on communication and knowing where we need to be. Trying to think ahead and know what we are going to do before the ball is hit to us,” the head coach said.
McClain’s Lady Tigers will begin their regular season on Saturday, March 24, when they travel to take on the Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs in a double header.
The McClain ladies also take on cross-county rivals the Fairfield Lady Lions on Saturday, April 7, at Fairfield High School in a double header. The Lady Tigers will host the Hillsboro Lady Indians two times in the regular season with the first matchup set for Friday, April 13, at Mitchell Park and the second coming on Wednesday, April 25, at Shaffer Park in Hillsboro.
Coach Bolender ended by asking the Greenfield community to come out and support the girls this season.
“The girls are going to be exciting this year. We are really going to push the tempo offensively, going to be able to play some small ball with some girls that are able to hit the ball into the gaps and that can run. We are always going to be looking to take that extra base. We are hoping to play an exciting brand of softball this year,” said Bolender.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.