Varsity softball kicks off season


Carolyn Harty

Junior Lily Reilly gets in stance to swing against Villa Rica.

Carolyn Harty

The Knights softball team is looking forward to continuous improvement after closing out their 2021-2022 season 7-9, the most wins in recent school history. 

After starting the season 0-2 with a 15-0 loss to region champion Villa Rica, and an 8-0 loss to Chapel Hill, the Knights move on, hoping to improve on last year’s performance.

“This year, I expect to win a lot more games than we have in the past,” senior Hannah Palep said. “I feel like we have a really solid and experienced group of girls compared to the last couple of years that I’ve played.” 

The program has encountered a few big changes in the past year, including a new coaching staff and losing six seniors. 

“Last year was pretty hard on us since our coach left pretty much halfway through the year, but it’s taken some getting used to with new coaches and styles of play,” Palep said. “I know they’re going to help the team out a lot, and I’m excited to get to know them better.” 

Even with these changes, many girls see this opportunity to showcase their leadership and help the team grow on and off the field. 

“We lost six seniors and all six of them had been on the team for all four of their high school years; so, that was a change of play and leadership,” junior Caitlin Stanley said. “The upperclassmen from day one have had some high expectations; so, Hannah, myself and Chloe [Peyton] have all helped lead things.” 

The team has hopes of making the region playoffs, but with the move to the new Region 5-AAAAA, expectations for upcoming competition are still up in the air. The new region includes: Chapel Hill, Lithia Springs, Maynard Jackson, Mays, Creekside, Banneker and Tri-Cities.

“Since the teams in our region have changed, we’re not entirely sure what the competition will be like this year, but I think we have better chances of making the region playoffs than we did last year,” Stanley said. 

With the loss of players last year, underclassmen are a crucial part of the roster. 

“[Being on the team] is exciting and a little nerve-wracking,” freshman Ava Anderson said. “But it’s really cool because there are a lot more people I can meet and older friends that I have made so far.” 

From the pitching mound, Anderson is looking to showcase her skills.  

“I’m excited to start pitching for the team because I’ve been waiting to do that for a while,” Anderson said. “I’m expecting our team to do pretty well because in practice we look really good and last year we did well.”

Although the season is just getting started, the girls are excited to ramp up the intensity of practices and games this year. 

“I think increasing our practice days from Monday-Thursday and making our practice two hours has been really good for getting our reps in, and we’ve been doing more conditioning to build our stamina and overall improve,” Palep said. 

As the season progresses, Stanley wants to also improve her skills and the relationships and chemistry on the team. 

“Personally, I hope I can improve my game to do what I can to help the team in whatever position I play,” Stanley said. “I hope the underclassmen can help us continue to bring the team together and improve as much as we can.” 

Palep wants a memorable senior season.

“I want to win as many games as we possibly can and have a good time for my last year,” Palep said. “This will probably be my last year playing softball competitively; so, I want to go out on a good note.” 

The Knights will face Centennial on Monday, 8/29, at Centennial and Maynard Jackson on Tuesday, 8/30, at Maynard. The girls continue to stay optimistic about the rest of this season. 

“I think we have a lot of potential with the underclassmen this year and some opportunities for new leadership on the team; so, I hope we go further than we did last year,” Stanley said.