By Chris Parker
Hermitage is poised to compete for the program’s first district title since 2017 with six starters returning and another starter returning from injury.
Leadership for the program will come from junior pitcher Izzy Sabala and senior second baseman Grace Newman.
“The leaders of this team will be Izzy Sabala, our pitcher, and Grace Newman,” Hermitage head coach Shane Salmon said. “Both have good work ethic and are competitive. Izzy is a little quieter and Grace is more vocal.”
Sabala threw every inning last year with 99 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched posting a 4.14 ERA. She also hit .291 with 11 RBI and 17 runs scored. Newman posted a .422 on-base percentage with 14 runs scored and 21 RBI.
Chloe Friedman will also see time at pitcher in her sophomore season while catching as well. Amparo Payne, a junior, could also see time at catcher. Friedman had a .371 on-base percentage last year.
The infield will feature a combination of McKenna Kobe (sophomore), Newman, Katie Whiteside (junior), Taylor Copeland (senior), Payne and Friedman.
The outfield will feature Hailey Harris (sophomore), Madison Harris (sophomore) and Taylor Hohmann (sophomore).
Freshmen Chloe Clemmer, Rhylee Roby, Serenity Miller and Isabelle Boyer will look to find varsity innings.
“I think we can hit well all through the lineup and pitching should be a strength also,” Salmon said. “Overall team defense (needs to improve). We lost an outstanding center fielder in Paris Yates and a good shortstop in Chelsi Horn. We have girls ready to step up and play. (It) may just take a little time.”
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Hermitage will host Fair Play, Humansville and Wheatland for a jamboree on Aug. 23. The Lady Hornets will open the regular season on Aug. 26-27 at the Humansville tournament.
“We finished second in districts last year and hope to compete for a district and conference championships this year,” Salmon said.
Sheridan Corum will be on staff as an assistant for Hermitage this year.