The loss of seven seniors and the return of three, maybe four, starters. Those are a couple of the challenges Houston County fast-pitch softball team will have to contend with this upcoming season.
On the plus side, “(We have a) ton of freshmen that have surprised me,” said first-year Head Coach – formerly an assistant – April Collins, “and I’m really excited to see their continued success at Houston County.”
“Especially,” she continued, “coming in as freshman (where there’s the potential for them to be) really nervous, but it’s been really cool to see how they’re just like not overwhelmed and handling pressure really well.
“So, I’m excited to see what they’ll be able to do.”
She’s said she is also excited about the fact she will have “six” pitchers to rely upon versus four last year. Those are Kaylen Williams, a lefty, and Jacy Harrelson, Claire McArthur, Ally Fleming, Hannah Cantrell and Tess Rollins, all righties.
Fleming is one of a number she said she will be counting on for leadership, as is Abbie Havard, who will again be behind the plate and Harrelson, who is returning from an injury.
The end game for the Lady Bears, who finished 21-13-2 this past year, won the Region 1-AAAAAA championship and made it to the Elite Eight before falling to Creekview, pretty much remains the same, Collins said. (She, by the way, is the daughter of George Collins who coached football at Perry for five years, one at Houston County, before moving to Rutland where he retired after the 2015 season.
“So, really this year it’s all about the development and getting to play good teams and see how we match up. I would really love to win another region championship and then to continue to make our way through the state playoffs and then the ultimate goal is to get to the Elite Eight again.
“But first we want to win that region championship and continue through the playoffs.”
Note: The above interview was provided by SportsMic Broadcaster Brenda Arnett. Arnett has 28 years of coaching experience (softball at Warner Robins High School) and will be bringing you all the play-by-play this season on our app/website. Houston County begins its year with a scrimmage Aug. 3 at home against Perry (first pitch 6 p.m.). Its first official game will be Aug. 6 against and at Northside, Columbus.