Confident KFHS ready for local fight

Published 9:34pm Saturday, March 15, 2014

The expectations are high for King’s Fork High School’s softball team this year, thanks largely to its talented upperclassmen led by star junior pitcher Sydney Wash.

The Lady Bulldogs went 13-8 overall last season, 11-7 in the Southeastern District and fell to Grassfield High School in the opening round of the district tournament.

King’s Fork lost catcher Heather Clark from last year due to graduation, but returns nearly the entire team this year.

That team will be taking on a schedule rearranged by the Virginia High School League’s realignment.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Richard Froemel explained how that changes the competitive landscape for his team.

“Our biggest opponents are going to be right here in the city,” he said, highlighting Nansemond River High School. “They took two from us last year.”

Because of the talent on his team and the new alignment, Froemel’s expectations are set high.

“My expectation is to win the conference, and I also expect Nansemond River is going to be the team we’ll have to get through to get there,” he said.

As far as his personal opinion about the VHSL’s change, Froemel said, “I don’t know.”

He noted how everything comes down to a team’s performance in the Ironclad Conference tournament. He also expressed his disappointment over how the stakes of games against challenging Chesapeake teams have been eliminated.

“What do they add up to?” he said.

Leading the Lady Bulldogs’ efforts from the circle this season will once again be Sydney Wash, who earned first team all-district and first team all-region honors last year.

“She’s the stronghold,” Froemel said, and added that he thinks a lot of pressure is off her shoulders now that she has verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Junior first baseman Shaina Holland has been a constant for the team, and she comes into this year with more confidence and strength as a hitter.

“Shaina’s probably, in my opinion, one of our best athletes on the team,” Froemel said. “She can play infield, she can play outfield.”

Senior third baseman Kayla Harbin will again supply her defensive skills, along with consistency at bat.

“Her fielding attributes are among the best,” Froemel said.

Senior Kayla Jones signed earlier this year to play college ball for the West Virginia University Institute of Technology. Froemel praised her growth as a hitter since last year, and while she has proven catching abilities, he said, in his opinion, “She’s a much better outfielder.”

He hopes to use her there, but first needs someone who has a similar ability level as her behind the plate.

A possibility is freshman catcher/utility player Lauryn Bailey.

“She caught last year for JV, but she’s got aptitude for infield, and she’s got softball savvy to play outfield,” Froemel said.

Speaking to what he believes could be his team’s biggest challenge this year, he considered the scenario of it having to pick itself up after a difficult loss in a big game to a conference opponent.

But he is confident it will happen, nonetheless.

“They will respond right, because each of them knows what we’re capable of,” Froemel said.

King’s Fork begins its season on Tuesday, visiting Deep Creek High School.

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