Lady Knights softball team seeks to improve from winless season


Scout McDaniel

A Lady Knights player, Nariah Moore, warms up prior to a softball game on Aug. 17 against Therrell at Crim High School. Therrell won the game 24-2. Grady is looking to improve from a winless 2016 season.

Selena Kleber and Scout McDaniel, Staff Writers

The Lady Knights Softball team start this upcoming with a new coach and players ready to improve from a winless season a year ago.

Coach Elizabeth Yale replaces Myss Jelks, who departed to KIPP Atlanta Collegiate. Yale moved to Atlanta from Florida, where she had coached softball since 2009. Now at Grady, Yale is in charge of student support and co-teaching for math, along with coaching softball.

“I love Grady,” Yale said. “I’m excited to be here. It was a good opportunity for me to move and start coaching again because I took a couple years off when I was teaching at a private school. They didn’t have sports there, so I’m excited to be back in a school where I get to do all that stuff.”

Generally the players and parents have been very positive about the new coach.

“She seems like she has a good grasp of the game,” Hassan Haygood, father of Victoria Haygood, said. “I like her knowledge and the way that she leads. My first impression has been good.”

Yale hopes to expand the program and have both a JV and varsity team. This would require more support and recruitment from the student body.

“We only have a varsity [team] at the school, so one of the goals is to be able to have enough girls interested and excited about softball that we can actually have two teams and really build up the softball program,” Yale said.

On Aug. 15, the Lady Knights opened the season with a 20-4 loss to Coretta Scott King. On Aug. 17, they lost 24-2 to Therrell. Starting the season 0-2, the Knights remain optimistic.

“I think our infielders did really good, and if we keep doing that I think we could improve,” junior Allie Burns said of the first two games. “Also our pitching needs to improve, and it is. We just have a bunch of new players.”

Students and parents realize it’s difficult to build support for the team because Grady doesn’t have an on-campus baseball or softball field or one nearby. Crim High School, where the team practices and plays home games, is 4.9 miles from Grady, which takes around 20 minutes without traffic, but oftentimes takes upwards of 30 minutes.

The support for the team is extremely low compared to other Grady sports. There are fewer people in the stands than on field. Parents are aware of the lack of support and fan base, but fixing this issue may be a whole other ball game.

“We would like to see more people out here supporting the girls … it would give them more spirit and more energy,” said parent Andrea Peterson.