KF softball expects good seasonPublished 10:08pm Friday, March 1, 2013
Though the King’s Fork softball team lost four key seniors to graduation last year, the Lady Bulldogs field a hungry team this season that’s not too old and not too young, but lush with travel ball experience.
Graduated seniors Megan Blythe, Niki Cuevas, Taylor Davis and Monica Logwood contributed to a 2012 King’s Fork squad that had a 15-7 overall record, 14-6 in the district, and advanced to the second round of the Southeastern District tournament for the first time in school history.
Only three of the 12 girls on the current roster are returners from last year, but head coach Richard Froemel expressed confidence in them.
“First and foremost, I want to be competitive, and I know we’ll be that, because I think all but one of the girls play travel (ball), so they take the game seriously,” he said.
The team is currently comprised of one senior and a couple of freshmen, with the majority of players being either sophomores or juniors.
One sophomore that Froemel is expecting a lot of good things from is pitcher Sydney Wash, who impressed on the mound as a freshman.
“She’s very good,” he said. “She can just about do what she wants to do with the softball.”
A key junior, Ashley Roten, will not be immediately available to the team due to an injury, but will be important once she can take the field. A left-hander, she led off in the batting order last season with a .400 average.
“She plays left field for me,” Froemel said. “She tore her labrum in her shoulder swimming, and she’s been out. We’re working her back. It’s not her throwing arm, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.”
Roten also pitches and will spend some time on the mound when she returns, which Froemel expects to be in two to three weeks.
Additionally, the team will at least temporarily be without valuable senior contributor Autumn Vick due to academic reasons. Froemel said that she is working diligently to be back on the field soon.
“I’d like to see her before spring break, which is the first of April,” he said. “So in a month, we could get her back. She’ll add a lot. She plays outfield for us, strong centerfield.”
Vick had a stellar batting average of .417 to lead the team last year.
Froemel expressed enthusiasm about the potential of sophomore Shaina Holland, who is currently playing in centerfield for the Lady Bulldogs.
“She played first (base) last year,” Froemel said. “We’re trying to fill that outfield void. A very athletic girl, she can just about play anything.”
Another notable athlete expected to contribute is junior Kayla Jones.
“I’ve got a new girl at the catcher position,” Froemel said of Jones. “She hasn’t really caught before, but she’s athletic enough to pick it up. She’s working also with her travel team on that position.”
Freshman Kay’Lee Justice is proving to be an asset to King’s Fork, particularly in Roten’s absence.
“I have to keep her up (on the varsity team) because of her pitching ability, and she’s a good outfielder, also,” Froemel said.
Decisions are still pending on who will play right field and first base, though Froemel indicated that three players are currently in the running for the latter position.
Wash and Roten should be able to bring the strong pitching, and Froemel indicated that “we’ve got a solid, young infield, so I’m thinking that maybe if we can get on base, we’re going to move some people, because we’ve got some girls that have got speed.”
But that alludes to what he said the team’s biggest challenge would be — manufacturing runs.
Vick should help with that, as will Roten when both return.
“Sydney hits the ball hard, and she’s got a little kink in her swing that she needs to work on,” Froemel said. “She’s aware of it; she’s been working on it. She hits the ball hard.”
He also cited junior second baseman Kayla Harbin as a good contact hitter along with sophomore shortstop Jasmine Holloman, who has good speed on the bases.
An early test for the Lady Bulldogs comes next Saturday in a scrimmage with Princess Anne.
The regular season will begin for King’s Fork at home on March 12 against Deep Creek.