The McClain Lady Tigers varsity softball team has a core of 10 returning players in 2019 and are looking to improve upon a second place finish in the Frontier Athletic Conference standing in 2018.
Lady Tigers Head Coach Ed Bolender has high expectations for all of those girls this season and expects all of them to be leaders regardless of age.
” We have 10 returning letter winners from last year and we expect each one of them to step their game up and to lead this years team. Our seniors Allison Beatty, Elizabeth Kegley and Kaeli Anderson all will need to take that senior leadership role,” Bolender said. “We will need junior returning starters Beckley Smith, Kaylee Stevenson, Kaleigh Easter and Cierra Bolender all to continue to improve from good seasons last year. Our returning Sophomore starters Brianna Weller and Kyla Burchett will also take the next step and solidify their marks on our program.”
There are two younger players at varsity level that Bolender thinks will contribute to the Lady Tigers’ success in 2019,” Sophomores Josie Crabtree and Brooke Beatty will both plant significant roles on this years team and will be big keys to the program taking that next step.”
The Lady Tigers and Bolender realized that the team had holes to fill this season and the team has effectively turned its most glaring weakness into a positive.
“Our biggest strength as I’ve mentioned is our experience. We also have kids that have been willing to learn some positions we needed to fill so that has been great. Shows the character of these kids as they have committed to do special things,” Bolender said. “That is also tied to our biggest weakness and that’s the inexperience we have at a couple of spots.”
Bolender has also seen the work that his girls have put in to get better in the offseason, “We have worked hard in the off season and this preseason. Now we have to go out and prove it on the field.”
Bolender made a point to thank the community for its efforts to revitalize the fields at Mitchell’s Park specifically the new dugouts at the softball complex.
“I would like to add a huge thank you to those in the community for their efforts and support in us getting some major improvements at our home field,” said Bolender. “When you come to our home games you will see new dugouts. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how they have turned out and are very thankful for the efforts to get these built.”
Bolender closed by inviting the community to come out and watch the girls this season, “These kids work as hard and dedicate their time the same as all the ‘major’ sports that everyone comes out to watch and support. I think these girls deserve the backing for sure. We plan to play a high energy exciting brand of softball so we hope that will make for a fun game to watch.”
Ryan Applegate is the Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.