The Louisa Lions’ softball team is in a unique position as they begin the 2020 season. They didn’t have any seniors on the team last year, and all but one of the 13 players have returned.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Head Coach Susan Sharpe. “The kids that we have this year are seasoned. Some of them have been playing varsity since they were freshmen. It’s time for them to show what they’ve learned over the past two or three years.”
Seniors Laura Garrett, Saniya Jones, Caroline Sampson and Ellie Spotswood return to the diamond, as does a large crop of juniors, consisting of Olivia Chenault, Taylor Fifer, Emily Hall, Haley Rosson, Brady Shifflett, Jerri Lynn Shull, Bri Tyler and Brooke Vincze.
Tyler will take charge of the team in the pitcher’s circle this season.
“She pitched a bit for us last year,” Sharpe said. “This year, I expect her to carry a lot of the load. At the end of the season last year, I gave her [some] things to work on and she’s worked on them. She’s worked hard and it should show.”
Tyler is anxious for the opportunity to pitch.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get better,” she said. “It lets me show what I can do.”
Rounding out the roster are a pair of freshmen players up from the Lions’ JV team. Haley Walker and Dara Jo Sharpe played pitcher and catcher respectively on the JV team last season, and Susan Sharpe looks for both to contribute to the team this year.
“They were the battery on the JV team last year,” she said. “Haley’s going to see some time in the circle. I’m not sure Dara is going to be behind the plate, but both can play a lot of different positions, which gives us a lot of flexibility.”
Walker is looking forward to playing on the varsity team this year.
“I feel like I’m going to learn a lot from the older girls,” she said. “We’re going to work harder than we did last year.”
With a solid core of players on the team this year, Sharpe hopes they will improve on last year’s record.
“We lost a lot of games that were close,” she said. “If you look at [the whole] season, we kept getting better. We hope to pick up where we left off.”
The Lions start their season with a pair of home games, taking on the Monticello Mustangs on March 17 and the Patrick Henry Patriots on March 20. Both games begin at 6 p.m.