By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
The Nanih Waiya slow-pitch softball team will be an experienced squad when they begin the 2013 season on Saturday.
“I have a lot of returning players,” said first-year head coach Courtney Graham. “We lost four seniors but the majority of our varsity and junior high team are coming back.”
Graham served as assistant coach last season for the slow-pitch team that advanced deep into the playoffs. The fast-pitch team won the MHSAA Class 1A State title, which Graham said could be a benefit for this year’s slow-pitch team.
“I think the girls are more confident because of that win last year, but the expectations are probably a little higher as well,” Graham said. “It adds a little pressure. Most people think softball is softball, but slow-pitch is a different sport and takes a total different mental approach to the game.”
Graham has high hopes for the team’s defense this season. “We have a consistent group of girls and they stop the ball almost all of the time,” she said. “They back each other up, know where they are supposed to be and are constantly moving.”
Brantlie Sheets will be playing first base for the Lady Warriors, while Katylyn Burrage is at second and Ryan Holdiness and Mackenzie Johnson will be switching back and forth between shortstop and third.
Allayna Lovorn will handle the catching, while Candace Thornton, Lori Beth Hailey and Hope Thames will all see time pitching. The outfield is made up of Marlee Parkes, Regan Holdiness, Livia Bush and Chelsea Smith.
Nanih Waiya will travel to Louisville on Saturday to take on the Lady Wildcats at 10 a.m. and Noxapater at 11:30 a.m.
The Lady Warriors then visit Kosciusko on Monday and East Webster on Thursday, Aug. 22.
The first home game for Nanih Waiya is set for Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. against Eupora.