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The Lady Rocket softball team lost three very valuable seniors from last year's squad, but they return a bevy of talented players looking to advance past last year's 8th Region semifinals appearance.
"We're very positive, very optimistic and very excited to get started," SCHS head coach Kelly Cable said. "We want to see if we're as good as we think we're going to be."
The Lady Rockets new mantra this season "Another year older, and another year more experienced," shows at nearly every position.
Haleigh LeCompte returns from a stellar sophomore season, and Cable said the now junior is even better.
"Oh, my goodness, she's unbelievable," the coach said. "She worked her tail off over the summer and she perfected the pitches she had last year, plus she's added a rise-ball to her arsenal and she's added about three miles per hour to her fastball. She's really looked outstanding so far, and she's going to pick right up where she left off last season, and keep getting better and better."
The Lady Rockets had three holes to fill due to graduation, but Cable said her defense should be just as solid as last season's.
Jessica Williams, already a four-year starter, is the lone senior and she'll continue to gobble up balls at third. Hannah Stucker returns at short, and Shauna Gramig will be back behind the plate. Dee Dee Davis is back after a year off with a knee surgery, and she'll play second. The outfield will have Courtney Tinsley and Taylor Shaw back, and Hannah Abbott has laid claim to the third spot.
"All the girls played over the summer and we're a year more experienced, so I think our defense can be even better this year," Cable said.
The Lady Rockets made a living off defense and pitching last season, and Cable said that trend isn't likely to end.
Last year's squad struggled at times to score, but this year it won't be a problem.
"We were hitting off living pitching the other day, and the girls were ripping the ball so hard, it made our defense look bad. And our defense is very, very good," Cable said. "There's not a weak part of our line-up. Our seven-eight-nine (in the line-up) is just as strong as our one-two-three. Right now it's wide open. It doesn't matter where a girl hits, because our line-up is so strong."
Leading the way offensively, no doubt, will be Williams. She returns as the top hitter off last year's squad. Cable also noted that having Davis back has been a big addition.
"She hasn't missed a beat," she said. "Her bat has been unbelievable. Our line-up has power, we can swing for base hits and we can execute the bunt. We're solid all the way through. There are literally no weak spots."
Cable said her team's goal right now is the same as every team in the state.
"Our obvious goal is to win the state tournament," she said. "But we'll be tested. Our schedule is very strong, and I did that on purpose. We're set up to build for the region and state tournaments. I think we have a great shot to win the region. Anderson County is going to be very strong, as well as Oldham County, but I think we've got the potential to win it. If we put everything together, we can beat anybody out there."