QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson’s softball team ended last season showing signs of improvement, and the team is hoping they can build off of that this season.
The Generals lost some key players, but second-year coach Angie Fisher said she has some solid returners who should help steer the team in the right direction.
The Generals have six returnees in Izzy Blank, Constance Polk, Dayle Loucks, Jaden Gass, Tessa Souder and Katie Silvious.
“Each one of those bring experience to the team, as well as they put the bat on the ball very well and they’re pretty strong defensively,” Fisher said.
Polk will be returning in the pitcher’s circle for the Generals. Last year Polk split time with 2018 graduate Kelsey Hines. Polk pitched 40 innings and had 20 strikeouts.
Freshman Alicia Bare will also see time in the pitching circle for the Generals.
Offensively, Blank is one of the top returnees for the Generals. She had two home runs, four doubles and a triple to lead Stonewall Jackson last season.
Blank said she hopes that the younger players can look at the season she had last year and learn from it.
“When Fisher first started the hitting drills for us to start hitting differently I was like ‘oh this is crap. This is not going to do anything,’” Blank said. “But then after actually sitting down and taking the time to do the work I was supposed to I hit my home run last year. And then I continued to do that, and I hit my second one. So I wanted to emphasize to the newcomers do it, it does work. A lot of them you can see it already in the way they’re swinging. They have more power, and they’re getting the right cut on the ball.”
Blank is one of only two seniors on the team and the only one with much experience.
“It’s going to be different knowing it’s my last year — kind of hurts,” Blank said. “And I’ve played softball since I was little. So it’s going to be one last ride, I guess. It’s going to be different. And it’s going to be hard at the end of the year, especially the second half of the season. It’s going to really hit me.”
Fisher said that she has some young players on the squad that show some promise and she has a talented group of eighth-graders on the junior varsity squad.
“I think the future of Stonewall softball is bright, especially once we get those eighth-graders up to our (varsity) program,” Fisher said.
Fisher said that many of the players will probably have to play multiple positions, but she believes they are capable of doing it.
The Generals didn’t win a game last season, but they were able to keep from being mercy-ruled (losing by 10 after five innings) in quite a few games, which wasn’t the case over the previous few years. Fisher said she wants the team to continue to be competitive this season and go the full seven innings.
“We want to go seven innings, hit the ball and limit our errors,” Fisher said. “Last year if you take one inning away from each of our games it would have been a different ballgame. ...We need to string together a bunch of hits. I think we’re capable of it. We got a lot of work to do with their lack of experience. So by our 20th game, we should have something ready for regionals.”