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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Sports Writer
The spring-like weather late last week afforded the Washington County Commanderettes softball team a chance to get outside and practice on the field. The atmosphere was one of fun, but also hard work, as the squad was put through their paces by head coach Christy Baker.
“Everything should come together pretty well,” said Baker, who is entering her sixth season as coach. “We lost three strong seniors last year, but I think we’ve got the ability and the talent to step up and come through.”
The team is coming off a 13-12 record in 2008, a year that saw them defeat Bardstown 12-2 in the first round of 19th District playoffs, but fell 15-9 in the championship game to Nelson County.
With Amber Taylor as the lone senior on the team, there is a lot of youth to this year’s ball club.
“I have several young ones that are going to be able to step up,” Baker added.
The early pitching rotation looks to be junior Kelly Hill, and sophomores Jaclyn Kelty and Hannah Simms. Hannah Coulter, a seventh-grader, could also take to the pitching rubber for the Commanderettes. All pitchers are right-handed except for Kelty.
“We should be good and stable,” Baker said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get on a good strong rotation and work through some things.”
At the plate, Taylor and Hill, along with Pooh Railey, provide some pop with the bat, but the team will also have some speed on the base paths.
“Everybody has the potential to hit,” added Baker. “Speed is a strong issue with me to work on. You don’t necessarily have to run fast, but run smart to advance runners and score.”
The Commanderettes open the 2009 campaign on March 23 when they travel to Taylor County to face off against the Lady Cardinals. The home opener will take place March 25 when the Commanderettes host Mercer County. District play starts that Friday, March 27, when district powerhouse Nelson County comes to Springfield.
Baker was working hard on the fundamentals with the girls during practice last week. It’s the little things that need some tweaking, and while things seem loose at practice right now, things will need to tighten up when the season starts if the Commanderettes are to win on the diamond.
She added, “If things go the way they need to, we should roll right on and progress to win one, two or three more games than we did last year. Our goal is to get one game better every year.”
Look for continuing coverage of Washington County softball and baseball every week in The Springfield Sun and online at www.readthesun.com.