Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 11, 2013

Golden Circle softball preview: Team-By-Team Preview

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

— The girls of the Golden Circle open the 2013 softball season this week. Todd Wills provides a look at the teams and the matchups.


Elizabeth Collier

Years at school, record: 5; 75-61-1

2012 season record: 11-22, 6-10 in 16-4A

Last playoff appearance: 2011, area finalist

Key returnees: P/IF Raylee Smithart, Sr; OF Kelsie Triplett, Sr.; OF Katy Polk, Sr.; P/IF Sidney Kirk, Jr.; C Leeah Seth, So.; SS/2B Ashley Spence, So.

Key losses: Kate Cook

Analysis: The Lady Tigers return their top two pitchers, Raylee Smithart and Sidney Kirk ... Smithart was one of the team’s top hitters last season, batting .356 with seven doubles, three triples and 26 runs scored ... Kirk, who missed some time pitching last season because of an injury, is healthy after posting a 2.55 ERA ... she also batted .446 with 13 doubles and 36 RBIs and was named second-team all-district ... OF Katy Polk was Golden Circle Defensive Player of the Year after posting a .976 fielding percentage playing left field ... she also batted .467 with 29 runs scored and 18 stolen bases Ashley Spence is an outstanding defensive player who also had 17 RBIs last season ... Kelsie Triplett batted .368 with 28 runs scored ... Leeah Seth will start at catcher for her second straight season ... top newcomers include sophomores Jourdan Bruce and Jasmine Estelle.  

Blooming Grove

Coach: Haley Harrell

Years at school, record: 1st year, takes over for Jim Owens

2012 season record: 12-10, 6-4 in 14-2A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalist

Key returnees: SS/P Steely Southard, Jr.; P/3B Falcon Thompson, Jr.; 3B/C Sydney Horner, So.; 1B/OF Rachel East, Jr.; 2B Hannah Chaffin, Sr.; 1B/OF Shelby Beamon, Sr.; 1B/OF Haven Cofer, Sr.; OF Lindsey Shuart, Sr.; 3B/P Lauren Miller, Sr.   

Key losses: Haylee Schwartz

Analysis: Harrell moves over from Kerens to Blooming Grove ... Steely Southard batted .411 ... Falcon Thompson batted .413 and had a .324 ERA ... Sydney Horner had 19 stolen bases.


Rex Cook

Years at school, record: 1st year, replaces Jessica Walker

2012 record: 12-7, 4-2 in 13-1A

Last playoff berth: 2012, area finalist

Key returnees: C Hannah Greer, Jr.; P Stormi Matthews, So.; P/OF Kaylee Martinez, So.; SS Demi Dotson, So.

Key losses: Brooke Martinez, Haylee Kimbriel

Analysis: Dawson has a coaching change for the third consecutive season ... Hannah Greer was the 13-1A Catcher of the Year, batting .453 with 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs ... SS Demi Dotson was the District 13-1A Newcomer of the Year, batting .492 with 38 stolen bases ... P Stormi Matthews was a first-team all-district selection with a 4.25 ERA and 24 strikeouts ... OF Jalyn Miller had a .477 batting average with only three errors ... Kaylee Martinez had a .354 batting average.


Clark Moore

Years at school, record: 1st year

2012 record: Didn’t field a team

Last playoff berth: 2009, area finalists

Key returnees: SS Dakota Lassetter, Sr., U Kadee Bowling, Sr.

Key losses: None

Analysis: Frost is back in softball action after not fielding a team last season ... Clark Moore shifts over to softball coach, where he’ll get the chance to coach his daughter, pitcher Jae Moore, for the next four seasons ... the Lady Polar Bears should have a talented young team led by seven freshmen — Moore, catcher Hillaree Schwartz, infielders Morgan Elmore, Kaycee Bowling and Madison Revill and outfielders Jasymn Steels and Cheyenne Pack ... Frost finished in third place at the TTAS State Tournament in Mildred this past summer.


Mike Saucke

Years at school, record: 15, 437-158-5

2012 record: 20-5-1, 5-1 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, area finalist

Key returnees: IF Dallas Fletcher, Sr.; IF Kate Saucke, Jr.; IF Olivia Curtis, Jr.; OF Nakaila Banks, Jr., IF Kalin Brown, Sr.  

Key losses: Paytyn Gillham, Rylie Ho Haught

Analysis: Hubbard returns seven starters off of last year’s area finalists ... Kate Saucke was the 13-1A Player of the Year after posting an awesome season — a .556 batting average with 12 doubles, 23 RBIs and she was 12-for-12 on stolen bases ... The Lady Jags’ third baseman had a single strikeout in 72 at-bats ... Olivia Curtis was the 13-1A Pitcher of the Year with a 15-1-1 record with a 0.89 ERA and 127 strikeouts ... Dallas Fletcher was the 13-1A Co-Offensive Player of the Year with a .423 batting average, 10 doubles and 24 RBIs ... Nakaila Banks batted .515 with 28 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.


Shelby Lancaster

Years at school: 1st year, takes over for Haley Harrell

2012 record: 0-6 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2011, area finalist

Key returnees: SS Kayla Kilcrease, So.; 2B Elizabeth Pratt, Sr.; P Carson Ware, So.

Key losses: 1B Carly Commiato, P Alison Hataway

Analysis: Lancaster takes over for Haley Harrell, and will try to get Kerens in the playoffs for the second time in three years ... Kilcrease was an all-district selection in District 13-1A.


Billy Dan Chambliess

Years at school, record: 4, 69-31-3

2012 record: 22-9, 10-0 in 14-2A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, area finalist

Key returnees: P/INF Olivia Farmer, Sr.; SS Callie Bland, Jr.; OF/P Aubyn Turner, Jr.; P/INF Joanna Tapley, Jr.; 2B Briana Weaver, So.; 1B/OF Savannah Pritchett, So.; 3B/OF Morgan McCreary, So.; 2B/OF Lauren Hawkins, So.; OF Shelby Adamson, Jr.; 3B Hannah Jones, Sr.

Key losses: Katie Tapley, Holly Holden, Ashley Bonner, Marissa Evett

Analysis: Mildred has won three straight district titles under Chambliess, who was recently hired as the Eagles’ new head football coach .. Callie Bland was a 14-2A Tri-Offensive Player of the Year with a .633 batting average, six home runs, five triples, 40 runs scored and 23 stolen bases ... Olivia Farmer gets it done as a pitcher and hitter, with an 8-1 pitching record, a 2.20 ERA and 43 strikeouts and a .567 batting average ... Aubyn Turner was the 14-2A Utility Player of the Year with a .440 batting average and 20 stolen bases and a 6-2 pitching record with a 0.20 ERA.


Phillip Eddins

Years at school, record: 1st year, takes over for Jason Baldwin

2012 season record: 12-12, 2-4 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalist

Key returnees: C Hanna Owens, Jr.; P Hunter Keilers, Fr.; SS Samantha Harris, Jr.

Key losses: 1B LeAnn Evans, P Stephanie Martin

Analysis: Phillip Eddins, also Rice’s boys basketball coach, takes over the softball program for Jason Baldwin ... Eddins was an assistant softball coach for Collinsville when the Lady Pirates made the state tournament from 1999-2001 ... Keilers is the top pitcher coming back and Ashton Metcalfe will also pitch and play second base ... Hanna Owens started last year at catcher and will be back the plate this season ... SS Samantha Harris brings quickness and hustle to the infield.


Coach: Ben Gorden

Years at school, record: 1st year, takes over for Jerry Young

2012 record: 1-5 in 13-1A

Last playoff berth: 2011, area finalist

Key returnees: 1B/P Elisha Libhart, So.; SS/OF Sara Sessions, Jr.

Key losses: OF/SS Anna Jones

Analysis: It will be a new era of Wortham as Gorden takes over the program ... the Lady Bulldogs are a young team, but have something to build around with Elisha Libhart and Sara Sessions.