Troy softball ready for return to diamond

TROY — Troy softball coach Scott Beeler said the Trojans can’t wait to get the season started after missing a year due to COVID.

And he said the Trojans are as well prepared as they could possibly be.

“As far as COVID, it really hasn’t stopped us from doing any of the things we do,” Beeler said. “We were still able to practice in the winter and do the things we needed to do to get ready for the season.”

Beeler highlighted the importance of his seniors Delaney Davis and Caroline Turnbull.

“Those are our two seniors,” Beeler said. “They don’t have a lot of playing experience, but they have done a great job of stepping up and providing leadership for this team. This is really close team. There isn’t a lot of drama. There leadership has played a key role in that. They are both really good kids.”

The pitchers include juniors Lilly James and Lilly Wick and sophomore Abigail Welbaum.

“Lilly (James) is our only pitcher with experience,” Beeler said. “But, the other two have pitched in summer ball. And Abigail (Welbaum) has pitched against a high level of competition in summer ball. We feel like pitching is an area where we are really solid.”

Junior Ali Burns, who transferred a year ago from Milton-Union, will be the catcher.

“She is a really solid catcher,” Beeler said. “She is not the biggest girl, but she has good speed. She does a great job of understanding the position and what pitches to call.”

In the infield, Beeler feels the team is really strong up the middle with shortstops Ashley Kloecker and Lauren Fonner, both juniors.

“Both are really good shortstops,” Beeler said. “We are not sure whether they will end up rotating or what is going to happen there. One of them could end up playing second base. With the rules in softball, we like having all three of our pitchers in the lineup somewhere, that way we can make changes without taking anyone out of the game.”

James, Welbaum and Davis could all end up at first base, Welbaum and sophomore Emma Setser could see time at second base and James and sophomore Elise McCann could see time at third base.

“We have a really strong sophomore class,” Beeler said. “Elise McCann is very athletic and a good hitter. She could end up at third base. Emma Setser moves well and has good agility and she could play at second base.”

In centerfielder will be junior Briana Lavender.

“Briana (Lavender) is a shutdown centerfielder,” Beeler said. “She can cover a lot of ground out there.”

Leftfielders could include Turnbull, junior Allyson Burns and sophomore Hallie Frigge.

In rightfielder could be junior Erin Bruce or Davis.

“Erin (Bruce) will be our home run leader,” Beeler said. “She can hit the ball a country mile. She is really strong.”

As always the MVL will go through Greenville.

“It is tough for us because we always play Greenville early,” Beeler said. “They are always our first two league games and that makes it tough to play your best softball that early in the season. I am sure Greenville is not playing their best yet, but it makes it difficult. We feel like we can compete with anyone in the conference.”

And are happy to be back out on the field after a spring that was postponed by COVID.