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BUFORD New Buford High School softball head coach “C” Davis is optimistic about the Lady Jackets’ chances this season.
Davis, an assistant with the program, has a solid team which features six returning starters, including ace junior pitcher Jena Hallman and her batterymate, seasoned junior catcher Leslie Pressley, the Best Offensive Player Award winner last spring.
“Pitching and defense are the strengths of our team,” said Davis, a former Lancaster High School head coach. “If we can keep the opposing lead-off hitter from reaching, I feel we can do well.”
Hallman, an all-region pick and the 2008 team MVP, and Pressley are joined by returning starters, senior shortstop Lindsey Pressley and first baseman Jordan Boone. Carley Bailey, an eighth-grader, also returns as a starter at third base, while junior Madisson Finley is back in right field.
Lindsey Pressley, the team’s Best Defensive Player Award winner, is a returning all-region player.
“We have our share of experience,” Davis said.
The remaining starting slots will be filled by freshman Hannah Knight, who will be in center field. Knight, who won the Jacket Pride Award on the jayvee team, will also provide depth at shortstop.
Sophomore Catie Rowell, a returnee, will also draw outfield playing time. Kayla Lloyd, a sophomore up from the Junior Jackets’ team, gets the call at second base. Lloyd was the Junior Lady Jackets MVP last season.
Senior Marley Ghent will be counted on to work in the BHS outfield and infield. Amanda Squires, a junior, provides depth at first base and the outfield.
The battle-tested Hallman leads a deep pitching staff which includes Bailey, Finley and Lloyd.
“Most teams have two pitchers, but we have four and each one can contribute,” she said.
Davis said another plus is assistant Dickie Hunter, who has his share of experience.
“Coach Hunter has a lot of experience, some as a head coach and between us, we want to get a lot from this team.”
Davis said the Conference III-A race will be tough with Chesterfield the defending Class A state champion.
“McBee and Indian Land are always in contention for the playoffs,” Davis said. “We’re down from Class AA, but overall we’re in a stronger region.”
Davis said BHS will have to deliver at the plate.
“We need to improve on offense and put the ball in play,” Davis said. “We also need to improve on our team speed, but Hannah Knight is a plus there.”
Davis noted the Lady Jackets’ future is bright with a solid junior varsity program.
“Ronnie Bailey and Wayne Boone do a good job with that team and I feel good about our future.”