By Chris Parker
Five starters return for a Salem softball team that finished 14-11 last season.
Coach Phillip Karr enters his second season as the head coach of the Lady Tigers softball program excited about the overall athleticism of his team.
“We will have a lot more athleticism, better range, and better defensive capabilities (this year),” Karr said.
Brooke Adams (senior catcher), Lexy Woolman (senior shortstop), Nina Howard (junior third baseman) and Addie Konkel (junior pitcher) are four players who have impressed Karr with their work in the offseason. All four are returning starters. Howard was the leader amongst that group at the plate last year with a .364 batting average and 12 RBI despite missing several games due to injury. Adams posted a .348 batting average with 21 RBI.
Sophomore Reggie Parks is the fifth returning starter at first base. Freshmen Bella Jadwin and Denise Stoner will compete for time at second base. Malia Terrill (junior left fielder), Chloe Bonner (center fielder) and Tatum Hatridge (sophomore right fielder) will make up the outfield.
Even with the five returning starters, Salem will be inexperienced overall this season.
“We have a lot of talented athletic young players that will have to get accustomed to the varsity level pitching and speed of the game. We are on a total rebuild and the majority of our lineup will be inexperienced at the varsity level,” Karr said. “Our expectations are to get better as the season progresses without putting pressure on young players and be a lot more competitive in the second half of the season.”
In short, Salem may need time to gel this season, but the future is bright.
“I’m excited about the season as this group of young girls is good practice players and clearly want to learn the game,” Karr said. “I’m not sure of our potential for this season but do know that a bright future is near for Salem softball.”
Salem opens the season on Aug. 24 at East Carter.