By Tim Chambers
There are two things you can usually bank on happening in Johnson County. The rodeo comes every year and the Lady Longhorns will have a competitive softball team.
Legendary head coach Dana Smith has been at the helm since 1985 and according to her each team is always unique.
Smith is hoping that this year’s squad has that little something extra that will make them more than competitive. She is hoping they can challenge for one of the top spots in the league with six returning players.
“This is a good group of kids that I feel like will mesh together and become a good squad,” said Smith. “They have worked so hard in the offseason on conditioning and stuff and I’m starting to see it in some recent scrimmages. I feel like we’ve got a lot of speed and strength appears to be our defense. But we’ve scored a lot of runs in our last couple of scrimmages too. It’s got the makings for an exciting season.”
The Longhorns lost several key players from last season’s squad including Cindi Edington who was tabbed as co-player of the year on the All Johnson/Carter County team.
But Milligan College signee Brianna Snyder is back on the mound to lead the way. She’ll get plenty of help from some key starters who played a ton of innings last season.
Jaymie Jennings and Kelsey Duperry return at shortstop and third base. They could be the league’s top right side of the infield. Michala Cretsinger and Marley Eggers will display their athleticism and speed in the centerfield and left field spots. Eden Fenner is also a speedster who will handle the second base duties. Smith knows that the Lady Longhorns are capable of having a dynamic season.
“Jaymie and Kelsey are excellent defensive players who can hit for a high average and with power,” said Smith. “Michala gives us speed at the leadoff spot. She, Marley and Eden all give us lots of options on the bases because they hit the ball well too. Each of them are good defensive players. They can help you win a lot of games with their speed and defense.”
Snyder is nursing a sore wrist and has not pitched in some recent scrimmages. But expect her to be there when the team opens up with Unicoi County on March 15th. She’ll be at first base when not pitching.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.