MSHSAA announced on Monday, Mar. 16 that they would not be cancelling spring sports due to the Coronavirus. There will be delays to the start of the season and you can read the full MSHSAA release on spring sports by clicking here. Many area schools have called off classes and extracurricular activities through at least Apr. 3 and will reassess at that time. We will continue to post our spring previews. Please note that this preview was written before delays for the spring season were announced.
By Chris Parker
Stockton softball has a new head coach with coaching veteran Jim Flora taking over this season. Flora most recently coached the SBU softball program. Prior to that he spent nine years as head coach at Pleasant Hope where he had a 212-49 record with the Lady Pirates winning the 2013 state championship.
“I began teaching and coaching at Stockton last year in order to spend more time with my family. The softball job became open this fall, and I felt I wanted to get back into softball to help the program move forward. I have had a lot of great teams and experiences in softball and I wanted to experience that here,” Flora said.
He will be looking to rebuild a Stockton program that hasn’t finished above .500 since 2016, which was also the last time that the Lady Tigers won a district title.
“We have to become a more fundamentally sound team,” Flora said. “The first step in winning games is not to beat yourself. We cannot walk batters, make errors, and we have to put the ball in play. Coach Kenney (the previous coach) has worked hard with some of the younger girls and they should help us improve in these areas.”
Seniors Katie Hedrick (infield) and Cass Duncan (outfield) along will be the seniors leading the team this year.
The Lady Tigers will rely on a strong group of sophomores and freshmen for many varsity innings. That group includes: Lyndsy Gire (sophomore pitcher/infield), Abby Flora (sophomore pitcher/infield), Madison Swaggerty (sophomore catcher/DH), Kara Hedrick (sophomore catcher), Kamryn Roy (freshman utility), Kyndell Roy (freshman utility), Vella Crawford (freshman utility) and Layney Gire (freshman outfield).
Gire led that group hitting .362 with a .586 slugging percentage. She also had six wins in the circle pitching.
“We hope to compete every game and have an opportunity to win because we play solid, mistake-free softball. If we do that we should have an opportunity to win a lot of games,” Flora said.