Charles Prince

The North Jefferson News

HAYDEN — Hayden head softball coach John Simmons Lady Wildcat softball will take the field this year without a single senior on his team.

“We’ve going to be very young,” Simmons said. “How that factors into playing softball at the 5A level, I just don’t know. We got some experienced pitchers and some good hitter returning, but we’ll be counting on some young girls in a few places this year.”

Simmons has five starters back from his 2007 club, including junior Ashleigh Ward at first base, junior Kris Quick in center field, freshman Madison Durham, who playing several positions last season, sophomore Laila Russell at second base and freshman Mara Conner on the mound and in the infield.

Two losses from last year’s club the Lady Wildcats will hope to overcome are the loss of 2007 All-State catcher Megan Brown, who belted 12 home runs and hit over .400 to graduation and left fielder Courtney Niceley, who died tragically in a automobile accident.

Others expected to see their share of playing time include sophomores Ashley Marty, a pitcher, and Britany Thomas, who plays third base and catches.

The Lady Wildcats have only two juniors, three sophomores, six freshman and an eighth grader on the 2008 roster. Simmons said despite the club’s youth, the pieces of a winning team are in place.

“We’ve got more speed and we’ve got more good athletes than last year,” Simmons said. “We’ll be young, but hopefully we won’t drop off.”

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