By Chris Parker
Confidence is high for Halfway softball entering 2019. The Lady Cardinals are two years removed from a district title and followed that up with another strong season with a young team in 2018.
“Winning a district title two years ago and being one game from the final four was an absolute blast,” Halfway head coach Eric Ingram said. “Last year there were a lot of questions going into the season and after finishing 15-7 last year with a young team we feel confident bringing back eight starters. We need to improve in all aspects and our consistency. Last year we pitched well but didn’t hit that game, or hit well but made too many errors. We need to improve all areas but mainly need to be more consistent as a team.”
The girl in the center of the diamond will be sophomore Elavia Sharp. She threw every game for Halfway last year as a freshman on her way to second-team all-conference honors. Her younger sister Jaka Sharp could also see some time in the circle.
Behind the plate, Maddie Payne returns as the full-time catcher, but might share duties with Annabelle Ingram.
The other returning starters on the infield include: Lindsay Simpson (senior third baseman), Hannah Farmer (junior shortstop), Madison Higginbotham (junior second baseman), Kendall Morris (junior first baseman). Higginbotham is likely to move to the outfield while Payne plays primarily second base.
Freshmen Annabelle Ingram and Sammi Gallivan along with sophomore Kamryn Sibley will also have a chance to earn playing time.
Higginbotham will likely be flanked by senior Mattie Ackels and junior Hannah Wolford in the outfield. Both Sharps, Ingram, Hallie Rovenstine (freshman) and Klarissa McCellend (freshman) will also compete for time in the outfield.
“We are still young having only two seniors, but one of our strengths will be our depth. The fact that we have a very competitive group that will push and challenge each other in practice will make all of us better. We bring back eight starters off a good team and they didn’t list how there season finished last year will also drive them,” Ingram said.
Halfway will open the regular season on Aug. 30-31 at the Buffalo Tournament.