“We’re not trying to change the culture. We’re trying to build one.”
That was new Veterans High fast-pitch Head Coach Shawn Masters. He was addressing the fact the Lady Warhawks have had four coaches, counting him, in the past same number of years. (Note: The consensus among the girls is he’s here to stay.) “You say you want to change the culture,” he continued, not in offense to any of his predecessors but just stating what he felt was the obvious. “I don’t know that there’s been any culture so to speak.”
“It’s been a major adjustment (for the seniors),” he said prior to that. “I told them when I introduced myself I was very well aware I would be the fourth guy they’d played for. I know it hasn’t been easy. I told them we’re going to try to do it right. ‘Try to make this a nice sendoff for you this year.’
“The coaching staff, I managed to put together a couple of really nice guys and gals and we’re going to coach them. It’s really going to be a matter of coaching. How much they’re going to take. Are they going to buy in or not?”
Masters has seven returning starters to help answer that question. He has also seen enough to pretty much set the field. Madison Bunnell, he said would pitch – be the No. 1 starter. Ellie Batten played third last year – Veterans finished 13-13, made it to state as the third seed in Class AAAAA, but were eliminated in the first round. She will play third this year. Allie Eidson played second last year. She will be at short this year, Masters said. Finley Welford, a 10th grader, played a “little” in the outfield last year. She will play second base. Nicole Chavous and Kylie Knight played in the outfield last year. They will continue to do so Masters said. However, Kasey Gibson played shortstop but will move to right field. Trinity Glover, a transfer from Bleckley County, he has penciled in for first and Hayley Sanford, a freshman, will “probably” start behind the plate.
On her, he said, “As you know, that could be problematic. Being a freshman and catcher. But, she’s a great blocker. She knows the game. We’ve just got to work on her arm strength. Keep people from running a merry-go-round on us.”
As far as expectations, Masters said the girls know what is expected.
“We want to obviously play hard and hustle in everything we do. We want people to know that when they’ve played us they’ve played somebody who plays hard. And they hustle.
“And they know when they come out here, or we go somewhere, they’re going to have to be on their game that day to beat us. And if they beat us, that’s fine. We just don’t want to beat ourselves.”
Note: The above interview was provided by SportsMic Broadcaster Brenda Arnett. Arnett has 28 years of coaching experience (softball/athletics at Warner Robins High School) and will be bringing you all the play-by-play this season on our app/website. Veterans begins its year with a scrimmage Aug. 5 at Jones County (first pitch 6 p.m.). Its first official game will be Aug. 9 at Rutland (first pitch 5 p.m.)