Alma softball coach Charla Parrish said she’ll miss her five graduating seniors. Heart, passion, hustle: they had it all.
But Alma, which was knocked out of postseason play last week by White Hall, finishing 20-11 on the season, has reason to be excited for 2022.
Seniors Kelsey Shepherd, Shelbi Hesson, Bailey Webb, Jacklyn Petree and Lydia Swarnes received their diplomas last week. The group combined for 125 hits, and all five hit .333 or better.
Webb finished with a .425 batting average.
“Those five girls have done a lot of good things for us throughout the years,” Parrish said. “It’s hard to see them leave.”
The Lady Airedales have a number of key components back in the fold, including standouts Taelynn Perry and Makenzie Martin. The pair combined for nearly 100 hits during Alma’s 2021 campaign.
There are other key players coming back, too.
“We still have Jocelyn Harless, Abigail Smith and Makinize Erwin coming back,” Parrish said. “Then you have Taelynn, who led us in hitting; I think she led us in hitting with a batting average over .500 (.533). And then Martin is really good pitching-wise.”
In addition to Martin’s .402 batting average, the junior also finished 14-6 as the team’s top pitcher. Freshman Julia Nutt also batted .435 in limited play.
“I think we have a number of key players coming back,” Parrish said. “Hopefully, some of these younger kids can step up. We’re working with incoming ninth-graders right now.”
Parrish said the Lady Airedales will play an abbreviated summer schedule, too.
“We didn’t have one (summer schedule) last year,” Parrish said. “We have three dates in June where we’re playing games.”