Softball teams prep for season

Published 11:21 am Friday, March 8, 2013


COURTLAND—After a regular season with only one loss, the Southampton High School softball team looks to overcome last year’s season ending second loss. The Lady Indians lost 9-0 to Culpeper High School in the opening round of the Region I playoffs.

“We are looking to do our very best to advance further in the post season,” said SHS Coach Susan Melbye.

The Lady Indians, 16-2 in 2012, return the majority of their starting line up from last year.

“We lost only five players to graduation,” Melbye said. “We’re expecting all of our veteran players to step up and lead the way for our younger players.”

Last season’s starting shortstop, sophomore Cortney Greene, has transitioned to pitching after SHS lost 2012 starting pitcher Ashlee Buehner to graduation.

The Lady Indians return starting catcher senior Emily Nelson and starting outfielder senior Demone Brickhouse.

“The team this year is very junior heavy,” Melbye said.

The seven juniors on the team will include the 2012 Southside District Player of the Year, third baseman Madison Cabell.

The Lady Indians have won both scrimmages they have played in this year, defeating former Bay Rivers District opponents Lafayette High School 10-1 and Smithfield High School 5-2.

“We had a very strong showing against both teams,” Melbye said. “Against Smithfield our team came out strong against a very good pitcher.”

The Lady Indians will open their regular season on Tuesday, March 12 at home against Windsor High School at 4:30 p.m.

Isle of Wight Academy

Entering his fourth season as coach of the Lady Chargers, Chris Hooper wants to continue a streak of Metro Athletic Conference Championships.

“Our goal is to win our conference, secure a state tournament spot and go from there,” Hooper said. “We have won the Metro regular season and tournament championships for the past 3 years.”

IWA finished the 2012 season 20-3, losing to Brunswick Academy 3-1 in the state semi-finals.

The Lady Chargers, 54-8 over the past three years, return eight starters. Four are seniors, including pitcher Hailey Glover. In 2012 Glover had a 1.04 ERA and struck out 66 batters as she went 7-2 and was undefeated against MAC opponents. She also led the team with 29 RBIs, carrying a .507 batting average.

“We are looking for quality outings by our pitchers again this year,” Hooper said.

After only one week of practice Hooper notes expectations of the team will go up as the season progresses.

“We are looking forward to a strong season,” he said. “The seniors, being their last year, have set goals and want to see what they can do this season with the help of their teammates.”

IWA will open their regular season at home on Friday March 8 at 4 p.m. against Tidewater Academy.


Southampton Academy

After losing five seniors last year, the 10-player Lady Raiders squad will take it one game at a time for the upcoming season.

“We just have to learn from the last game to improve on the next game,” said SA Coach Jeb Bradshaw. “We will have to play sound ball and not leave people on base.”

Except for returning starting senior Kate Wachsmann as catcher, Bradshaw began the season with the infield vacant.

“We lost the core of our defense,” he said. “I was also without a center fielder, but Whitley Smith has moved to fill that hole.

Bradshaw knows the Virginia Commonwealth Conference will be a tough conference to play in this year

“(Kenston Forest) is a good team. They were No 2 last year while we were No 3,” he said. “This year we have to finds ways to win.”


Tidewater Academy

Lady Warriors Coach Brent Lowe is feeling pretty good about the upcoming season despite a late start practicing after the girls’ basketball team earned a trip to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state semifinals.

“We should be able to compete against anyone as long as we play up to our level,” Lowe said.

Returning all but one starter, Lowe is happy to have options that the team did not have last season.

“We have three pitchers at various levels, as opposed to one last year,” he said. “We have new younger players that will contribute to this squad in that capacity as well as others.”

The core of the Lady Warriors team will come from its three seniors – shortstop Cary Beahm, third baseman Tyler Stephenson and pitcher Falon Williams.

“All three of them will bat in the upper half of the lineup,” he said.

Franklin High School

Entering her second season, Lady Broncos Coach Angel Cashwell will continue to build the program.

“We have a young team this year,” Cashwell said. “We have been rebuilding for the last year, we are heaviest in our 9th and 10th graders with 4 apiece.”

Cashwell is looking for the one returning senior, pitcher/catcher Cornesha Wellons, to continue to step into a leadership role.

“She has matured as a player since last season,” she said. “She has helped younger players learn their position quite a bit.”

With an increased talent base, Cashwell is also looking to continue increasing their fundamental skills of softball.

“We want to get the girls more exposure to the game,” she said. “We are also looking into starting a summer or a (recreation) league in the off season to improve our girls understanding of the game.”

The Lady Broncos will open their regular season on the road on Tuesday March 12 against Northampton High School at 4:30 p.m.