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Kelly Cable begins her 21st season as the Shelby County softball coach with one of the youngest teams – if not the youngest – she has ever had.
And even though the Rockets’ roster includes only two seniors and one sophomore, that can’t quell Cable’s enthusiasm.
“I’m looking forward to this season, I know the girls are looking forward to it,” she said. “We all are looking forward to it, and we all have high hopes.”
Part of the reason for that optimism is the return of several players from last season’s squad, which went 8-25.
“The ones we do have returning – even though we still are extremely young – they’re one year older, and almost all of them played summer ball,” Cable said.
Leading the way for Shelby County will be its seniors, first baseman Keaton Jesse and center fielder Ari Jones. Both are entering their third seasons as starters.
“I’ve seen them become good role models. They’re working hard,” Cable said. “I do feel like they’re going to be good role models for me.”
Cable is hoping that one sophomore (Kayla Shepherd), seven freshmen (Sierra Broxterman, Tori McGuire, Savannah Smeaton, Taylor Smitha, Jessie Vermillion, Abby Wills and Sydney Wright), one eighth-grader (Kelsey Shepherd) and one seventh-grader (Brianna Waits) will follow the examples set by Jesse and Jones.
Wright, a starter in the field last season, will take over on the mound after having seen some spot duty there. Smeaton also will pitch.
Vermillion and Waits will tag-team duties behind the plate and at third base, and Wills and Wright or Smeaton (whoever isn’t pitching) will anchor the Rockets’ infield up the middle.
Meanwhile the Shepherds, McGuire, Smith and Broxterman will take turns flanking Jones in the outfield.
The Rockets open their season Thursday by hosting North Oldham at 5:30 p.m. Then they will entertain Manual at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday and Bullitt East two days later.
“We’re looking forward to this season, and we’re ready to get out on the field and see what all the hard work in the summer and fall, and being one year older, has done for us,” Cable said. “The girls make it worth coming back every single year.”
Shelby County at a glance
Last season:8-25 (lost 7-1 to Spencer County in the 30th District Tournament semifinals).
1B Keaton Jesse (senior); CF Ari Jones (senior); OF-IF Kayla Shepherd (sophomore); OF Sierra Broxterman (freshman); OF Tori McGuire (freshman); IF-P Savannah Smeaton (freshman); OF Taylor Smitha (freshman); IF-C Jessie Vermillion (freshman); 2B-SS Abby Wills (freshman); P-IF Sydney Wright (freshman); OF Kelsey Shepherd (8th); C-IF Brianna Waits (7th).
14 – NORTH OLDHAM, 5:30 p.m.; 19 – MANUAL, 5:30 p.m.; 21 – BULLITT EAST, 6 p.m.; 22 – at Henry County, 5:30 p.m.; 25 – at Christian Academy of Louisville, 5:30 p.m.; 27 – LEXINGTON CATHOLIC, 6 p.m.; 28 – FRANKLIN COUNTY, 5:45 p.m.; 29-30 – at Bath County Invitational.
5-6 – at Woodford County Invitational; 8 – ANDERSON COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 9 – WESTERN HILLS, 5:30 p.m.; 11 – COLLINS, 5:30 p.m.; 12-13 – at Capital City Classic in Frankfort; 15 – at Trimble County, 6 p.m.; 16 – BETHLEHEM, 5:30 p .m.; 18 – at Spencer County, 5:30 p.m.; 19 – FERN CREEK, 6 p.m.; 22 – HENRY COUNTY, 5:30 p.m.; 23 – at Assumption, 6 p.m.; 25 – OLDHAM COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 29 – at Owen County, 6 p.m.
1 – at Jeffersontown, 6 p.m.; 2 – at Anderson County, 6 p.m.; 3 – TRIMBLE COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 6 – at Carroll County, 6 p.m.; 7 – MERCER COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 8 – SOUTH OLDHAM, 6 p.m.; 11 – at Henry County Round Robin, TBA; 13 – OWEN COUNTY, 6 p.m.; 15 – SPENCER COUNTY, 5:30 p.m.; 16 – at South Oldham, 6 p.m.; 17 – at Franklin County Triangle, TBA; 18 –SENIOR CELEBRATION, TBA.