Lynn Camp Softball Coach Nikki Hendrix says her Lady Wildcats are a young team with only one senior and two juniors on the roster, but likes that they aren’t new to the program or high school softball.
“We lost six starters, but our youth has some experience in the district and region,” Hendrix said noting the team finished runner-up in the 51st District before losing to Clay County in the 13th Region Tournament.
Hendrix said the 2018 Lady Wildcats will once again hit the ball very well, and expects pitching and defense to improve.
“We didn’t have a consistent pitcher in 2017,” Hendrix said.
Hendrix said freshman Madyson Roberts would be her primary pitcher after working her way onto the field in 2017.
“I know she is going to throw strikes,” Hendrix said of Roberts, noting the number of walks given up was one of the big hurdles her team faced last year.
Hendrix said the Lady Wildcats will also hit the ball really well.
Among the returning players is Makenzie Grant, who will likely be back at shortstop.
Hendrix said the junior, who has been starting on the varsity level since she was in eighth grade, would be one of the players she would be looking to for leadership on a team with just one senior.
The Lady Wildcats added another experienced player in Erin Holland, who transferred from Knox Central.
Hendrix said Holland is expected to start the year in centerfield.
“She loves the game and is dedicated,” Hendrix said of Holland. “She is just ball smart.”
One of the returning players that would be looking to fill a need is sophomore Kaley Hendrickson.
Hendrix said the sophomore who started several games for the Lady Wildcats in 2017, is stepping up to fill the need at first base.
“She has worked really hard to make the transition to first base.
Hendrix said defense, and how much of an improvement there is in that category, would tell the story for Lynn Camp in 2018.
As to the 51st District, Hendrix said she expects tough competition from Knox Central and Barbourville.
“Even though Knox Central lost a lot of seniors, they have two very experienced pitchers,” Hendrix said of the Lady Panthers.
“Barbourville has improved over the team that beat us once last year,” she said.
The Lady Wildcats will find out about Barbourville right out of the gate as they open up the season Monday against the Lady Tigers in the first round of the All A Tournment.
“That game is going to define how the rest of the season will go,” Hendrix said. “Just getting a win that first game will be huge.”
The home opener is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 24 against Lee County.