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Martin returns veteran-laden Lady Pioneer squad
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Returning all-district selections Lindsey Cox, Ty Ramirez, Erin Hollis and Neva Tackett headline a 23-person Warren County High School softball roster announced Thursday.
Second-year head coach Gooby Martin made his selections following Tuesday’s tryouts, where some of the county’s best girls came out to audition for a chance to put on the Lady Pioneer uniform.
Coach Martin had the luxury of bringing back eight girls with starting experience, something he hopes will benefit his team next spring.
“We do have a lot of varsity experience returning for next season,” said Martin. “I hope these girls can improve on some of the little things it takes to be successful and win against top-caliber teams.
“Base running, advancing runners, sacrifice bunts and capitalizing on scoring chances will be big for us.”
Cox and Ramirez, two contributors since their freshman seasons, are now seniors who will be counted on to lead the Lady Pioneers. The duo locks down the left side of the infield, where Ramirez plays third and Cox roams at shortstop.
They’re joined by classmates Bailey Martin, Bailey Walker and Abby Hutchins – all starters a season ago when Warren County went 10-19 overall and 5-5 in district play, good for third in District 6AAA.
Hollis, the team’s starting pitcher, and first baseman Tackett are two of five juniors on the squad. Last year’s most improved player Ashlyn Patterson, Bethany Porter and Skyler Youngblood round out the junior class.
The sophomores are Natalie Bond, Lexie Chadwell, Kyra Hillis, Erin Lane, Hope Mullican and Katelyn Smith. The newcomers are freshmen Maddie Cantrell, Emily Mikkola, Grace Rains, Marah Wanamaker, Ashton Whiles, Hailey Wood and Bri Young.
Coach Martin believes his group will have a chance to make a big leap this offseason, thanks in large part to the team’s field house being completely renovated.
“We will have a consistent schedule throughout the offseason and it will help us in the long run,” said Martin. “We have the turf installed, which opens up a ton of options for the girls to improve. Our goal is to get faster, physically stronger and mentally tougher.”
Getting a second year with the core of his team only helps too.
“I think the first year is always the toughest. As coaches, we install our philosophy and it is an adjustment for the girls. We will get better as a coaching staff and I expect the girls to do the same,” said Martin. “We did gel toward the end of the season. We played some really good teams and were very competitive. Our next step is to win some of those games.”
Warren County can hit the field running when spring sports practice officially start Monday, Feb. 15, 2016.