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Hopes are higher for Lady Horns

Front L-R: Kayden Epperly, Mimi Zaldivar, Braden Eastridge, Emma Eller, Kylah Henley, Sarah Icenhour. Back L-R: Emily Walker, Mattie Jones, Ivy Lakatos, Shawna Arnold, Lauryn Bishop, Aiden Thomas, Harley Wykle, Alexis Proffitt. Photo by Joey Icenhour

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County Middle School has tasted its share of success in the Little Watauga Conference softball league but this year could be a different story. The team finished first in the league and in tournament play last year but gone is are the excellent pinching duo of Hannah Fritts and Autumn Lewis who are both pitching on the high school team.

Head coach Haley Miller is excited about this year’s team and she will once again be assisted by Mark Humphrey.
This year’s squad will be built around Mattie Jones who was the starting shortstop on last year’s squad. She will pitch and can catch if needed.

“Mattie is definitely our team leader,” said Miller. “She hit the ball really well last year so we are expecting a lot of good things from her.”

Two players that have caught the eye of Coach Miller are Aden Thomas and Braden East ridge.

“Aden played travel ball so we think she is really going to help us in the infield. Braden is fast and has a lot of speed. She is a very good outfielder and that’s something we really need on this team.”

Miller expects Unaka to be their stiffest challenge for the league title.

“They have a new coach in Megan Heaton who was at the high school and she knows a lot about the game and she’s a really good coach. I expect them to be better with her there. They’ve been good every year that I’ve coached up here.”

Another trio of players that Miller mentioned will help her team is Harley Wykle, MiMi Zaldivar, and Ivy Lakatos.

“Zaldivar and Lakatos are only seventh grades but they’ll see varsity time. Wykle has hit the ball good in the preseason so we’re expecting a lot of good things from her.”

Miller also expects Lexie Profitt, Emma Eller, and Sarah Icenhour to contribute.