By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
March 20, 2013 — With spring approaching, the East Carter softball team is hoping experience will lead them to success this season.
With eight returning starters, the Lady Raiders feel like they have the right formula to earn the program’s first regional championship.
“We’re still a young team but the future is bright,” Coach Derek Calhoun said. “Not a lot of teams in the area can say they have that many returners. They know what’s expected of them.”
One returning starter is sophomore infielder Kayla Hall. Hall hit for .530 last season with 24 RBIs and 24 runs, for a team that scored 305 runs last year, the most in the 16th Region. She and the rest of her teammates look forward to finally getting out on the field.
“We can be one of the best teams (in the region) this season,” Hall said. “We need to score this season and push runs across to gain momentum. We want to go further than we did last year and ultimately get to the state tournament.”
The Lady Raiders’ lone senior, third baseman Heather Withrow, echoes what Hall said. The Lady Raiders are ready to stake their claim on the 16th Region and be in the mix come tournament time.
“We are very confident with our team,” Withrow said. “We’ve been working hard since last season in getting stronger and faster. If we go out and try our best we can accomplish a lot of our goals this season.”
One emphasis this season for East Carter will be pitching. With the depth inside the circle with Morgan Jacobs, Tori Quals and Montana Fouts, all three are expected to pitch all season. Combined with a defense that only had 22 errors last season, when East is out on the field it will not be too hard to see what their strength will be.
“The hitting will come along but we want to be one of the best pitching and defensive teams in the region,” Calhoun said.
East Carter has not advanced out of the first round of the 16th Region Tournament since the 2003 season, including last season’s 8-1 loss to Fleming County. Calhoun said that loss is stuck in the back of his players' minds and he expects them to use that as motivation.
“It left a bitter taste in their mouth at the end of last year,” Calhoun said. “Something has a fire lit underneath them and you can tell there is a spark there.”
Like the players, the coach’s expectations are just as high but Calhoun said with way they practice, he feels like East Carter will be in the mix come tournament time.
“I’m pretty positive that by the end of the season, they are going to be a lot of people talking about East Carter softball,” Calhoun said.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.