By Chris Parker
Fair Play enters the second season of the Alicia Mercer era coming off a 9-12 season last year. Familiarity with Mercer will be a strength for the Hornets this season.
“Being my second year, I know more about each girls individual abilities and can focus on how to improve individuals instead of trying to learn the program and individual skill levels. I feel more confident in knowing the program and am really excited for this season,” Mercer said.
Junior Chyler Welch returns after earning first-team all-conference honors last season. She will be one of the pitchers for the Hornets this season while seeing time at several other positions.
“She (Welch) is a competitive player who is willing to do anything you ask her to do. She is an excellent player at knowing the game. She is an outstanding hitter for us,” Mercer said. “She is working hard on her mental toughness and growing into being a leader to the team.”
Freshman Meghan Hoxsie will also see time pitching this year.
A trio of seniors in Emily McDougal, Abby Grove and Kenzie Clark are all candidates to see time on the infield. Brayden Thomas has shown a lot of improvement behind the plate at catcher.
Lexie Simpson returns to the outfield in center. She missed some of last season with a dislocated elbow but is back healthy this year.
Fair Play must replace six seniors, but there are no shortage of players willing to step up.
“This team lost six seniors and the girls have decided to work hard to help fill those holes and build our team up,” Mercer said. “They are a fantastic group of girls that like to be on the field and be around each other, so it makes coaching life easier.”
Hard work will be an expectation for the Hornets this year.
“We always ask our girls to give us their best and we still demand that,” Mercer said. “We expect the girls to work hard the entire game and be a good teammate at all times, when each girl feels supported, they will work harder so why tear each other down.”
Fair Play opens the season on Sept. 3 at Macks Creek.