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Experienced Titans focus on some very big goals

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Softball preview: Collins

By Josh Cook

The Collins softball team hopes to hit a home run in its first season.

“My expectations for this team will always be the same this year, next year, every year, and that will be to make it to the State Tournament,” Titans Coach Jim Axline said. “I think you have to have those expectations and belief in your team and get them to believe that way also.

“If we as coaches don't make that the ultimate goal then why are we doing what we are doing?”

Usually first-year programs have plenty of questions and holes to fill, but that’s not so at Collins. The Titans have four players who started for the Shelby County team that won the 8th Region last season and a couple of others who were on the Rockets’ roster. 

Those who started for Shelby include senior pitcher/outfielder Kristina Gramig, junior infielder Sara Chambers, junior shortstop/outfielder Rebecca Mouser and junior pitcher/outfielder Jeneca Thomas.

Gramig, Collins’ lone senior, will lead the way this spring for the Titans.

Axline, whose roster includes seven juniors, three sophomores, three freshman, one eighth-grader and the aforementioned senior, is also looking for big things from two other juniors – catcher/outfielder Kara Owens and infielder Amanda Buresh.

“One player I am really proud of at this point, and you can tell she has really worked hard in the off season, is Alex Baker,” Axline said of the sophomore utility player. “I think she could really help us this year.”

Axline’s goals for his team aren’t just to bring home some hardware for the new school, though.

“My expectations are bigger than that on the ballfield,” he said. “I expect them to first and foremost to be good young ladies and to be positive role models for the younger players coming up. We want to develop well-rounded student-athletes that can.”

The Titans, who have a scrimmage Saturday at Nelson County before hosting a scrimmage jamboree March 19, open their first regular season by hosting Sacred Heart Academy on March 21.