Lady Warriors bidding for solid run

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By Robert Howey

INDIAN LAND – The Indian Land Lady Warriors’ softball team fell just shy of defending its state title for an eighth straight season last spring, but the IL girls have a veteran team and look to make a strong run this season in hopes of returning to the Class A diamond throne.

The Lady Warriors, 13-16 last season, have nine players returning, including eight starters.

The IL girls have a solid pitching combination with senior Kimber Coley and Kristin Campbell, a junior who won the team’s Defensive Award last season.

“Pitching will be a key factor for us this year,” said Indian Land High softball coach Monica Barfield. “With Kimber back from her injury last year and the experience Kristin Campbell gained last year while replacing Kimber, our pitching will be a key factor.”

Eighth-grader Beth Martin, the team’s Rookie of the Year last season, will handle the catching duties.

Sophomore Paige Brugh, the team’s Warrior Award winner last season, returns at first base, with newcomer Katie Jowers, a seventh-grader, at second base.

Senior Jacquelyn Delaune is back at third base. Delaune earned the team’s Hustle Award last season.

Coley and Campbell, when not pitching, will handle shortstop.

The outfield includes senior Ashley Vitek in left, junior Alyssa Hartley in center and Alex Greenawalt, a freshman, in right field.

IL squad newcomers are seventh-grader Kelsey Young, who will provide outfield depth, and freshman Keah Maurer, who can play in the infield and handle the catching duties. Eighth-grader Haley Vachon provides depth in the outfield and at catcher.

“Our defense is strong and we have the ability to move players in different positions if needed,” Barfield said. “Our hitting is not where it needs to be right now. We have really been working hard on the area. We have to improve our hitting.”

IL, ranked No. 2 in the Class A preseason softball poll, pulled off a big win, downing No. 1 ranked McBee earlier this week at home.

Barfield, assisted by Ray Coley, Brian Campbell and Mark Barfield, said McBee is the team to beat in Conference III-A softball play.

“Chesterfield is ranked No. 6 as of this week’s poll,” Barfield said. “North Central should also be a team that we should not over look this season.”

Barfield is hopeful.

“Right now we’re working really well as a team and our (1-0) win over McBee (this week) has given some of the girls the confidence that they were lacking,” Barfield said. “All three senior players are doing a great job in leadership roles.

“Most of the games we have lost have came down to one bad inning, we need to build from that and play seven solid innings of focused defense,” Barfield said.