By Shirley Shuman
On July 8, Braxton County’s Senior League softball team, made up of girls 13-17 will play Beckley in their first game of their state tournament. Their route to the tournament, according to Lukas Given, one of their three coaches, started during the All-Star Tournament.
“Our All-Star team was actually our whole team since our number is so small,” Coach Given said. “To have players in the All-Star game, a team had to have a winning season.” Braxton’s record was 8-4. The coach explained that each district may enter two teams into the state tournament. Braxton was runner-up in District 9, which Cowen-Three Rivers won.
The coach also noted that his team probably could have won more games, but “the number of players varied during the season.” During the All-Star competition, Braxton played with ten players. The recent roster included 12 girls, each who plays in various positions.
Listed as pitchers are Kira Cottrill and Hayden Brown can also sometimes be found at first or third base. Brown also plays first, as does Emma Conrad. Conrad also sees action at third. Behind the plate will be either Alyssa Luzader or Rion Given. Both girls play shortstop, and Given may play third base.
Five girls sometimes play second base. One, Breanna Marsh, also covers centerfield in some games. Lydia Bennett, another second baseman, can play center or left field, and Lilly Hines can cover left field or play second. Bailey Rose is a right fielder or a second baseman, and Kenley McFoy is also versatile because she has played first, second, right and center field. Another player, Bobbi Singleton, was injured at the time this roster was written.
Even though their number is small, their coaches show confidence in their ability. Coach Shannon Rhodes said he’s “really proud of the girls on how far they’ve come this season and earning a chance to be state champions.”
Coach Given said, “I’m proud of all the girls for how much each one of them has improved on the game.”
Apparently, these two coaches have a great deal of confidence in their players and their ability to play where they are needed. They’re sure to have strong support, especially from their third coach—Nick Conrad, as they travel to Barboursville for the state tournament.
See additional photographic coverage on Page 11 of this issue.