It was a season for the record books for Warren County High School softball as the Lady Pioneers pounded out a rare regular-season district championship.
I use the word “pounded” quite literally because Warren County had some batters who could blast the ball to the moon, and I say that part figuratively.
In going through old Southern Standard newspapers, I believe it to be the softball team’s first regular-season championship in the past 25 years. In addition, no one we’ve talked to, school officials included, seems to remember the WCHS softball team ever winning the district title so it could quite possibly be the first time in school history.
I was hoping this Lady Pioneer team could make a deep tournament run, but it wasn’t meant to be as Soddy Daisy rallied in its final bat to derail Warren County. The late-game stumble shouldn’t muffle what was a tremendous season for the Lady Pioneers with a strong nucleus for the future.
For starters, the team’s top two pitchers are set to return in Ashton Whiles and Maddie Cantrell. Those two pitchers alone will be enough to win some games next year.
Losing the bats of Neva Tackett and Skyler Youngblood will remove some sting from the lineup, but there are still some big hitters left like Kyra Hillis and Hope Mullican, who went 3-for-4 in Monday’s regional game.
The Lady Pioneers need to find a little more defensive consistency to reach the next level.
It was also a strong season for the other Warren County squad that pitches and hits. The Pioneer baseball team marched its way to a 23-win season, finishing the regular season with more than 20 wins for the first time in more than two decades.
The best part is the Pioneers have all the pieces in place to contend again next year.
Much like the softball team, pitching should be a strength for the baseball team. Tyler Hollingsworth went the distance and only surrendered four runs in Monday’s region tournament game. Brooks Helton is also a quality starter on the mound, giving the Pioneers a proven one-two varsity punch.
The Pioneers should still be speedy with players like Cole Estes and Ethan Smith capable of getting around the bases in a hurry. Wesley Jennings returns with a great glove in the infield. He could stay at first base or find a home at another spot with both middle infielders leaving due to graduation.
There promises to be a few changes on the diamond, but I see capable players waiting for their time on the field to show what they can do.
Congratulations to the WCHS softball and baseball teams on fine seasons. I see more on the horizon.