The Louisa County High School softball team is back on the field and getting ready for the 2021 season.
“We’re just so excited,” said Coach Susan Sharpe. “It feels so good to be back and to have my girls back.”
The Lions are returning eight players to the team this year, including a large crop ofseniors. Olivia Chenault, Emily Hall, Haley Rosson, Brady Shifflett, Jerri Lynn Shull, Brie Tyler and Brooke Vincze are all returning for one last season.
“It’s thrilling,” Sharpe said. “They all graduate in the middle of May and our last regular season game is scheduled for June 10, so that’s a month that they’re willing to come back and play ball.”
The seniors have a long history with the game and with each other, since most of them have been playing together since they were in middle school.
“We have a strong bond that makes us closer than most teams,” Chenault said. “We know each other’s strengths so we can build each other up.”
Also returning to the varsity team is sophomore Dara Sharpe, who will be suiting up for her first season of varsity play. Sharpe made the squad last year as a freshman before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she’s “very excited” to play with the seniors for their final season and that she’s seeing a lot of “want and drive from everybody.”
“They want to go far and everyone’s putting in the work to get to where they want to go,” she said.
Stepping up to the varsity team for the first time this season are freshman Savannah Bragg and sophomore Emily Gillespie, who Coach Sharpe hopes will be contributors this season.
“Emily is a left-handed pitcher, so she’ll compliment Brie really well in the circle, and Savannah is extremely versatile and a very scrappy kid,” she said.
Rounding out the roster are juniors Lydia Gillespie, Lilly Jordan, Ali Downey, Emma McGehee and Maddox Pleasants, all of whom are moving up from the JV team.
As the Lions wrap up their abbreviated preseason, Sharpe is hoping the team will “make a name for themselves this year.”
“There’s a ton of talent [on this team],” she said. “They can do it all. They can play defense, hit, bunt ... I’ve never had a team this talented.”
The Lions host the Charlottesville Black Knights for their first game on April 27. Action begins at 6 p.m.