By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Some of the most successful fast-pitch softball coaches in the state are former baseball coaches and Winston Academy is hoping for a similar story
this season as Gregg Collier takes over duties for the Lady Patriots.
“It was something I thought I wanted to get in to,” Collier said of coaching fast-pitch softball. “Baseball and and (fast-pitch) softball are real similar, especially in the strategies and the fundamentals.”
While his team might not have gotten off to the start it had hoped for, winning one of three games in the Starkville Tournament, on the way to a 2-2 beginning to the season — Collier said he has his team looking toward the overall goal.
“I told them I didn’t get hired to win the StarkvilleTournament, we are here to compete for the district championship and do well in the playoffs,” he said. “We only have 13 players and a the multiple games in a day format can be kind of tough on us. We should be really competitive playing a couple games a week as we build up our endurance.”
Collier, who coached baseball at Immanuel Christian last season, said there is no doubt where the hopes for his team’s success will be centered on this season.
“It all starts with our pitcher and catcher,” he said. “Kaitlin Jones is the best catcher in the state in my opinion. I would put her up against anybody. We will go as far as Marla (Smith) and Kaitlin can take us.”
Smith will be handling most of the pitching duties, with Jones behind the plate, Emily Morgan at first base, Brooke Wilson at second base, Darby Nowell, at short and Alexa Johnson at third.
Lilly Sisson will be in left, with Lainey Smith in center and Mary Morgan Clark in right field.
“The biggest thing is that our seniors need to lead,” he said. “We are very strong up the middle and that is where our senior leadership (Jones, Marla Smith, Nowell, and Lainey Smith) lies. We play really good defense and most of the time we don’t’ beat ourselves.”
While Jones and Nowell can provide some power at the plate, Collier said most of the time his squad will rely on base-hits, stolen bases, and bunts to produce runs.
The Lady Patriots were set to visit Oak Hill on Tuesday, before facing Leake Academy on Thursday and (Macon) Central Academy on Friday.