As the snow melts and the green grass begins to emerge, springtime is among us once again. With the start of the spring comes the beginning of another softball season. After a great season last year with an overall winning record of 12-3 and a trip to the sectional finals, the team’s goal is to duplicate last year’s success and get closer to a state title.
After losing almost a full starting lineup of seniors last year with the exception of current senior Georgia Bartels-Newton, the team of only 11 will have to cope with the loss and look to the guidance of Bartels-Newton and junior Meredith White, both of whom are captains. “We have a very young team but I’m really confident about this season. We have a lot of great players,” Bartels-Newton said.
Eight seniors graduated after last season and now the team is made up of mostly juniors and sophomores, with the exception of three seniors and one freshman. Although this year’s team is young and inexperienced, head coach Alton Lightsey has a long history of coaching softball and will look to lead the team to a championship game that they have been striving for.
Lightsey has been the head coach for the Patriots for 15 years and an overall history of coaching softball for a total of 21 years. With high expectations for the season, he believes the girls are capable of winning their conference and making it to the state tournament. “My goal for this year’s team is to win the region and go to the state tournament,” Lightsey said. “I think the girls can do just that. Even though we are young and lost a lot of senior leadership, the team works hard and we still have experienced, varsity level players who have filled in nicely.”
Preparation in the offseason and preseason helped the girls build team chemistry and get them ready for their season opener on Mar. 21. The team had a strong preseason with scrimmages, half of which were canceled due to inclement weather, but the team was able to play Paint Branch, Whitman and a Howard County school, Reservoir High.
Although the scores weren’t recorded for any of these scrimmages, they still proved to be good practice for the upcoming season.
The Patriots played their first game of the season on Mar. 21, where they hosted the Magruder Colonels. The girls were down 8-1 going into the second inning but were able to make the comeback and steal the lead in the third. After stealing the lead, the Patriots were able to maintain it and pull away from the Colonels. Ultimately the Patriots bested Magruder with a final score of 18-10.