After over 10 years of coaching varsity softball, Alton Lightsey has retired his position, leaving the team with a new coach; Taylor Stockinger, is a Catholic University alumna who grew up in Montgomery Country.
Stockinger graduated from Sherwood where she played softball. She later became a Catholic University Cardinal, where she continued her softball career. After graduating college and still passionate about softball, Stockinger decided to become an assistant coach to her college team for a year. After helping coach the Cardinals, Stockinger decided to head back to her hometown where she coached winter workouts at her old high school till she began coaching here.
“Softball is a sport that I love and have been around it my entire life. I started out playing baseball with the boys when I was young and then transitioned into playing softball. Getting into coaching is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I just want to be able to give back to a sport that I have learned so much from and I just hope these girls can learn from me and enjoy it as much as I did,” Stockinger said.
The varsity softball team is made up of 12 girls, the two team captains being seniors Estelle Casper and Meredith White. Two-hour practices are held daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., except for Sundays. “This year is my third year on varsity, and my first year without Mr. Lightsey as my coach. I’m definitely going to miss him because he made my first two years on softball a memorable experience but I really like my new coach and I think she will prepare us well for the season,” junior Molly Brown said.
The varsity softball team is currently preparing for their first game of the season which is on Feb. 21, at home at 3:45 p.m. against Damascus. In past years, the team has defeated Damascus, so they are hopeful that they will be able to keep their streak going.
In preparation for a successful upcoming season, the team has been working hard on new skills. After spring break, the team will be playing their biggest rivals: Quince Orchard and Northwest.
The team’s first scrimmage was on March 8, against their coach’s former high school, Sherwood. The team fell to Sherwood 13-5. “Even though we lost our first scrimmage, I still think my team worked hard. Scrimmages give us helpful pre-season practice to build up the team strength we need for a successful season,” junior Hannah Johnston said.
Stockinger expects the girls to have a victorious season based on the team’s hard work last year. Stockinger’s goals as a first time head coach are to build off of last year’s season in hopes to continue the team’s hard work. In addition to Stockinger’s goals, she and the team both hope to only get better and possibly make it further in to playoffs this season.