Daleville softball ready to start new chapter
By Casey Strickland firstname.lastname@example.org
The Daleville softball team will soon begin a new chapter with first-year coach Desmond Lett, who has lofty aspirations for the Lady Hawks this season. "From what I've seen so far at practice, my expectations for the girls this year (are) high," he said. "I've heard people say if you win one game it's an improvement, but I see girls out there that will not be satisfied just getting one win this season. I have a group of girls that wants to compete and win every time they step on the field."Daleville has the luxury of multiple pitchers who are capable of sitting hitters down and piling up innings in front of the DHS defense."We will have a pretty good rotation in the circle this year," Desmond Lett said. "We will have juniors Elaana Eaton and Sierra Carrera throwing some games this year. Also we will have senior Ellyce Lascano, who has just finished basketball and we are excited to have coming out."As the season approaches, Desmond Lett is confident in both the Lady Hawks' pitching staff and its defense. "This is a good group of girls with great leadership skills," he said. "I want them to have faith that if they throw strikes they have teammates who will make plays behind them."The defense starts with a completed battery, and DHS will also have a few catchers who will don the mask."We have three different girls who have been working the catcher spot for us this preseason," Desmond Lett said. "Shelby Payne, Jamie Peters, and Ko'Leeaha Redmond have all the been getting reps behind the plate. This is a scrappy group of girls here who are not afraid of getting in the dirt and blocking the ball up."The Daleville infield also boasts some depth, and Desmond Lett said some spots are still undecided. "To round out the infield we have Caitlin Messer taking reps at first base, Alyssa Knobel at second, Eaton and Carrera at (shortstop) and we have an ongoing competition between Jakayla Anderson and Catilia Jackson at third," he said. "We also have a few basketball girls coming out this week to get some reps in."The Lady Hawks' outfield has been hitting its stride to prepare for the season."Our outfield has been working very hard this preseason and I have seen tremendous improvements, but we can continue to improve," Desmond Lett said. "Kaylee Lett, Shelby Roberts, Brianna Seigler, Kristen Durst, and Haley Coltharp have all been taking reps in the outfield this preseason. We also have some of these girls taking infield reps as well as some infielders getting reps in the outfield. Earlier I mentioned some basketball girls coming out (to play softball). Kiarra Pouncy and Krishauna Jackson will be tremendous for us this year, as far as us developing depth."While the team works in the field, Desmond Lett said it is also trying to take advantage of strengths at the in the batter's box."At the plate we have a variety of styles," he said. "Some girls have power, some speed who will look to put the ball in play and beat out throws and some girls are just base-hitting machines. We will need to be disciplined and not help our opponent's pitcher out by swinging at junk. We need to take them deep in the count and make them sweat it out."Daleville will begin its season at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 on the road against Zion Chapel, which is one of a few games its coach said the Lady Hawks must use to their future benefit."Being that we are in a five-team area, eight of our 14 (games) will be area games," Desmond Lett said. "We are in a pretty tough area with Houston Academy, Providence, Wicksburg, and Pike County. It is important for us to take advantage of the few games we have to correct things before area play starts. Other than our area games we also play games against Zion Chapel, Samson, and Geneva County. On March 10-11 we travel to Geneva for a 12-team single elimination tournament. This will serve as a great measuring stick to see where we are."Daleville continues to improve in practice, but Desmond Lett said the players are eager to play a game."The girls are ready to get the season started," he said. "I think they are ready to see where we stand and how much work we have to do to get where we need to be by the time of area play. They see live pitching from their teammates, but they're ready to see something new. We are all ready to get this great season started. I am proud of their hard work so far."