Experience helps Lady Bobcats

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2000

FRANKLIN FURNACE – Last year was quite a ride.

Wednesday, April 05, 2000

FRANKLIN FURNACE – Last year was quite a ride. And there’s quite a few players who have come back in search of another ticket just like it.

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Last season the Green Lady Bobcats softball team finished 13-9, third in the Southern Ohio Conference race, but reached the Division III regional semifinals.

That fun ride has a chance of saddling up again with nine lettermen and six starters returning under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Jodi Armstrong.

"I thank having experinece in key postions will be one of our strengths. We have four players who have been starters for several years to help inspire the rest of the team," said Armstrong.

In those key returning positions will be seniors Ann Barrett at third base, Courtney Moore at shortstop, and Jessica Butler on the mound.

Butler, a four-year starter, is the ace of the pitching staff who will get most of the assignments.

"Jessica’s leadership on the mound creates a sense of confidence with the others," said Armstrong. "She’s added a change-up to her pitch selection and her speed is comparable to others in the league, but her accuracy is the big difference."

Another key for the Lady Bobcats is the move of starter Heidi McDavid from right field to second base. Also moving will be junior Erica Hall from left field to first base.

Armstrong said putting McDavid and Hall in the infield along with Barrett and Moore should pay dividends.

"Our infield is going to be one of our defense strengths. The girls really work well together and have experience at key position to help provide insight in certain situations," said Armstrong.

Moving McDavid and Hall mean two outfield spots will open up.

One spot that won’t be open is center field where Erika Bradley is back.

Hillary Keller, a sophomore, will take over left field while senior Jessie Blankenship, a first-year player, will be in right.

"We have some youth in outfield, but we have all the confidence in Erica Bradley that she’ll turn into a leader for the others out there," said Armstrong. "Keller used last year as a learning year and she will be in left."

Green had to fill the catching position and that wasn’t going to be easy. That is, not until junior Jennifer Cline, elected to come out this spring.

"She a natural athlete and she’ll do a good job calling pitches and controlling the pace of the game. You can hardly tell she’s never played," said Armstrong.

If the pitching and defense come through, Armstrong feels confident about her lineup.

"Our hitting leaders will be Ann Barrett and Courtney Moore for both power and average. We have several players who have improved from last year and are more consistent," said Armstrong. "We’re looking for a lot of offensive contributions from McDavid, Hall, Cline, and Bradley."

Armstrong doesn’t see much shifting of power in the Southern Ohio Conference race

"The perennial favorites every year are Portsmouth Clay and Symmes Valley, but I fully expect (Green) to be in contention throughout the course of the season," said Armstrong.