2015 Tigerettes look to take off
After posting a 15-15 record and finishing tied for third in the District 12-AA standings last year, the Marshall County Tigerettes softball team expects to do bigger and better things during the 2015 campaign thanks to the return of seven starters and an influx of talented freshman.
Senior shortstop Ashton Watkins anchors a strong MCHS infield and has been named to the All-District team each of the last two seasons. Despite standing only 5'4", Watkins wielded a big bat during her junior year, as she recorded a gaudy .521 batting average, drove in 34 runs, and belted 12 doubles, six triples, and four homeruns en route to earning District Offensive MVP and being named to the Class AA All-State Team. Watkins is also a sound fielder and has excellent range to go along with a strong arm.
"Ashton just understands the game and knows what to do with the ball in every situation. She has a lot of confidence and is the leader of our infield," said MCHS coach Heather Denton.
Senior Jacey Perryman is expected to be the Tigerettes' top pitcher again this season after posting a 15-10 record and a 2.30 ERA last year. An All-District selection as a junior, Perryman greatly improved her control last season and threw four shutouts during the 2014 campaign. Perryman is a threat at the plate as well and finished with the third best batting average (.377) on the team last year while hitting leadoff for much of the season.
"Jacey threw strikes last year and kept her walks to a minimum. She made teams put the ball in play and let her defense work behind her," said Denton.
Senior Mecia Reed returns at second base, but will also see time at third base this season. Reed is a solid fielder and a line drive hitter that is adept at moving runners over.
After missing most of last year due to a shoulder injury, senior McKenzie Anderson has returned to full strength and has earned her starting spot back at first base. Anderson is a sure handed fielder, but also possesses good power and will add some pop to the top part of Marshall County's lineup.
No. 2 on mound
Senior Grace Medley was Marshall County's number two pitcher last year and filled in well for Anderson at first base after her classmate went down with an injury. Although she doesn't possess an overpowering fastball, Medley keeps the ball low and has good movement on her off speed pitches. Medley is a solid hitter as well and provided the Tigerettes with several clutch hits last year in big situations.
Sophomore Blair Richards and freshman Halle Chapman could also receive some innings in the circle this year for MCHS. Richards has improved both her velocity and control during the offseason and picked up a few new pitches to help keep batters off balance.
Similar to Reed's situation, junior Emily Martin was Marshall County's starting third baseman for much of last season, but will split time at catcher with talented freshman Sydne Solomon this year. Martin has improved as a hitter during the offseason and is a good defensive player.
Solomon, meanwhile, has an extremely strong arm and showed prodigious power at the plate while in middle school.
Fellow freshman Leah Hollingsworth is a candidate to see time at second base and in the outfield. Along with being a strong defensive player, Hollingsworth is a line drive hitter and an aggressive runner once she gets on base.
Junior Allison Sheroski is the Tigerettes' most experienced outfielder after starting in centerfield last year. Possessing excellent speed, Sheroski has great range in the outfield and has the capability to throw runners out on the base paths as well. She is also a good contact hitter and gives Marshall County another base stealing threat.
Kendra Moore (Jr.), Haley Hartley (Soph.), Taylor Walls (Fr.), Hannah Sheppard (Fr.), Courtney Edde (Fr.), and Kathryn Donahue are competing for playing time at the other two outfield spots, while freshman Alli Hobbs provides Marshall County with quality depth at first and second base.
Depth a plus
"We have a lot of depth this year. Usually you worry about people getting hurt, but we have the depth to cover it if we have any injuries," said Denton. "I'm really excited about this season. We have a lot of good athletes that have worked really hard. We also have a good group of seniors that have shown a lot of leadership."
Buoyed by a potentially explosive offensive attack, the Tigerettes will definitely be contenders for the District crown this year, but will have to fight off challenges by defending champ Giles County, Cascade and Spring Hill.