Softball to play LD Bell today


Photo provided by Audrey Faulks

The softball team huddles around the pitcher’s mound. They were discussing a strategy prior to the start of the inning.

The softball team will play against LD Bell at home today.

Head coach Jason Gwyn said LD Bell is a good team and the game will be difficult.

“Our district is very tough from top to bottom, and there aren’t any automatic [wins] out there,” Gwyn said. “Last season, it came down to the last game of the season for us to make the playoffs, and we could’ve finished anywhere from second, where we did, to out of contention altogether. LD Bell was another team that was right there at the end, and they gave us two very tough games during the district season.”

Last season, a majority of the team consisted of seniors, so Gwyn said this year he expects the juniors and seniors to step up and be leaders.

“This year’s team is very athletic and very skilled,” Gwyn said. “Most of the players have a club background and are used to competing at a high level, so that mixed with the experience they gained last year by competing at the varsity level has really helped establish a baseline for skill level and allowed them to focus on certain smaller skills that will just make them better overall. The team is very well-rounded and each of the athletes bring something unique to the team that helps them establish what their role is and how they can help us win.”

Junior first baseman Madison Butler has been playing softball since she was four, and she has been on varsity since her freshman year. Butler said she knows LD Bell is a good team, but she believes in her team to come out with a win.

“I think the LD Bell game is just another game we have to show up and show out for,” Butler said. “District games are really hard because we play teams that are really good. I think as long as we’re working hard then we will be prepared for the games that really matter.”

Gwyn said the team has been practicing to become a stronger team in general, but since the LD Bell game and district games are coming up, the girls will begin to prepare specifically for their opponents.

“We will look at the rosters and see who is returning and how they performed against us last year, as well as how we did against them,” Gwyn said. “The coaching staff keeps taking notes and keeps charts during our games and we will prepare a game plan for LD Bell and spend some time going over that with the athletes as we prepare.”

The team will continue to practice every weekday until 5:30 p.m. in order to prepare for the competition they will face this season. Gwyn said he is proud of the team’s work ethic as they show up to practice every day ready to learn new skills and to become a better team.

“Because this is the second year with me for most of them, they know what the expectations are and they’ve been able to meet and even exceed those expectations regularly,” Gwyn said. “These athletes have done an amazing job at being consistent every day and becoming very efficient and diligent with their workouts and practices. If they get credit for nothing else, they absolutely deserve credit for their incredible work ethic.”

Junior pitcher Audrey Faulks has been on varsity for three years, and said she is proud of her team and her coach’s hard work in preparing for the game and for the rest of the season.

“Coach Gwyn has helped us to become mentally and physically prepared for any obstacles that may try to block our path to success,” Faulks said. “He has talked to us about keeping our negative thoughts out of the game, and he has greatly shaped the energy and direction of the team this year. Practice can be very long, but very little time is wasted, and our practices prepare us to endure the long district games.”